US operators with older MNPS (minimum navigation performance specifications) approvals have until December 31, 2019, to get these updated if they want to keep flying in the NAT (North Atlantic Track). According to a recent FAA national policy notice, more than 1,000 Part 91 operators have not yet obtained an amended operations specification management LOA (Letter Of Authorization) B039. Most Part 91K, 135, and 121 operators have already obtained the required approvals, it added.
These requirements have been in effect for nearly two years under rulemaking aimed at aligning the NAT system with ICAO standards and to transition from the old MNPS to the more modern PBN (performance-based navigation) specification. This included requiring PBN specifications to operate in NAT HAL (high-level airspace), FL285 to FL420 inclusive, by January 2020.
Operators applying for a B039 LOA have to provide FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs) with additional evidence of compliance with NAT HLA requirements, “particularly with regard to RNP (required navigation performance) 10 and flight crew training,” said the notice. “ASIs should not assume operators with the NAT/MNPS LOA B039 already have the aircraft equipage, operating procedures, and training in place.” Additionally, ASIs should not issue an amended B039 LOA “without first confirming the Part 91 operator has incorporated the new contingency procedures in the applicable operator handbooks, flight manuals, etc.”
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