Communications Panel - Operational Data Link


The former Operational Datalink Panel (OPLINKP) was formed in 2000 to develop ATM data link operational requirements. With the ANC decision to restructure of the ANC Panels, the Communication Panel (CP) was established in 2013 as a result of a merger between the Aeronautical Communications Panel (ACP) and OPLINKP. The current OPDLSWG is now a specific working group under the CP.


The CP will undertake specific studies and develop technical and operational ICAO provisions for Air Traffic Management (ATM) voice and data communications systems, supporting procedures and their applications as outlined in the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP).

Required expertise

The panel is composed of experts involved in the design, development and use of ATM communications and the facilities and systems that support them. Members of the Operational Data Link Specific Working Group (OPDLSWG) also require knowledge and experience of datalink applications ant their procedures as well as the utility they bring to the different ATM functions. Members shall also have a good knowledge of the development and application of Required Communication and Surveillance Performance (RCP/RSP) specifications.

About the Panel...


Develop and update strategies and plans for aeronautical communications harmonization outlined in the GANP, consolidate and develop operational requirements for voice and data communications, monitor the development and implementation of ATM communication systems and facilities and develop provisions and guidance material for:- Air-ground and ground-ground data applications for ATS- A performance-based framework for communications and surveillance- C2 links for RPA- ATC links for RPA- SATCOM voice- Procedures to support ATM voice and data communications- Provisions on cyber-security for ATM communications- Infrastructure to support the above

Working arrangements

The ANC has specified the establishment of three working groups: Operational Datalink Working Group (OPDLWG), Data Communications Infrastructure Working Group (DCIWG) and Voice Communications Working Group (VCWG). The panel chairperson may establish additional working groups as necessary, as outlined in Doc 7984. CP should coordinate their work with the various groups of experts responsible for other Annexes and disciplines, as appropriate.

Our representative

Mr. Tim Rees (Australia) represents IFATCA on the Panel and is actively involved in the OPDLSWG. Mr. Rees is a professional ATCO with over 25 years’ experience. He demonstrated skill in delivering operational culture change and operational efficiency, with proven leadership through Check & Standardisation Supervision, Team Supervision and ATC Line Management. He also demonstrated ability to influence outcomes working in diverse, multi-cultural environments. Mr. Rees is an expert on global ATM, acknowledged through work with SESAR-JU, ICAO, CANSO and IFATCA. He is an operational authority on performance based ATM, ADS-B, Environment (noise and CO2) and ATM strategic planning. He has published several articles with Aviator Magazine and co-authored  multiple CANSO and Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) documents/publications. Mr. Rees can be reached at [email protected].

(Source: ICAO. (2017). CP - Terms of Reference.)