BizAv Operations to Amsterdam – Part 1: Flight Planning / Performance Navigation Requirements

PT 3 M minute read
BizAv Operations to Amsterdam – Part 1: Flight Planning / Performance Navigation Requirements

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on performance navigation requirements for Amsterdam.

New regulations were put into place for Amsterdam (EHAM) – effective November 15, 2012 – requiring business aircraft operators to have RNAV-1 or P-RNAV capability. For all operations to EHAM, operators must ensure, by regulation, that they have this capability and are qualified to use it. Random Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) audits occur at EHAM on a regular basis, and SAFA inspectors are thorough in their inspections.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. RNAV-1 and P-RNAV requirements may become more commonplace in Europe

EHAM, so far, is the only airport in the European Union (EU) requiring RNAV-1 and/or P-RNAV certification. Other major EU airports, however, may implement these requirements in the future. For operations to airports in the Netherlands – other than EHAM – RNAV-1 and P-RNAV certification is currently not required.

2. RNAV operational requirements

RNAV procedures, including Standard Instrument Departures (SIDS) and Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs), demand strict pilot awareness and maintenance of required procedures. Pilots should have a working knowledge of their aircraft navigational systems to ensure RNAV procedures are flown in an appropriate manner. Pilots should also have an understanding of various waypoints and required leg types used in RNAV procedures. When it comes to flight plans and routings to alternate airports, for example, you may go directly to a VHF Omni Directional Radio Range (VOR), but for the Netherlands you must do a SID to STAR. If a SAFA inspector does not find this noted in your flight plan, there may be fines associated.

3. RNAV-1 and P-RNAV details

RNAV-1 is a precision approach for airport arrival and primarily intended for use within terminal airspace. This requires use of a global navigation satellite system(GNSS). P-RNAV is equivalent to RNAV-1, but it’s the predecessor to RNAV-1. Be aware that, while you may be approved for RNAV-1 or P-RNAV in the EU, this approval may not be accepted in other countries. Required Navigation Performance (RNP), on the other hand, involves RNAV, along with on-board navigation monitoring and alerting. RNP is used more en route whereas RNAV is used when arriving at a destination.

4. There are no longer exemptions at EHAM

As per Netherlands law, all operators must have RNAV-1 or P-RNAV certification to operate to EHAM or to use EHAM as an alternate. RNAV1/P-RNAV exemptions for EHAM have been available but were discontinued November 14, 2013. Be aware that Dutch authorities are stringent in implementing these requirements. Operators not compliant with regulations face being blacklisted in the EU.

5. Flight plan considerations

Be aware that RNAV-1 and P-RNAV information must be indicated on your International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) 2012 flight plan. Notations of navigation equipment should be included in the performance-based navigation (PBN) section of the flight plan using codes D1 through D4 – depending on the equipment you have. If these codes are not included, there may be a SAFA ramp check on arrival. (05/28/14: Updated by the author)

6. Always review AIPs

It’s important to review Aeronautical Information Publications (AIPs) before traveling to any airport. Be aware that each country’s AIP involves differing regulations – even within the EU. Additionally, operators need to be aware that AIPs for individual EU countries may not fall in line with European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) or Eurocontrol regulations.

7. Additional information is available

Information on EHAM’s RNAV-1/P-RNAV requirements can be found on the AIS Netherlands website.

More information can be found on the published SAFA Ramp Inspections guidance material.


For any operation to EHAM, it’s important to ensure you have approval for RNAV-1 or P-RNAV and that all required documentation is available and on board. EHAM is likely just the first of many airports in the EU that will implement RNAV-1 and/or P-RNAV requirements.


If you have any questions about this article or flight planning in Europe, contact me at

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers the compliance and enforcement of performance navigation mandates.

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