Oceanic clearance

When you departed you received your IFR clearance from Newark Clearance Delivery. However this clearance does not allow you to enter Oceanic Airspace.
A separate oceanic clearance must be obtained from the Gander OCC. You must have this clearance no later than 30 minutes before your planned ETA at the entry fix of the track. This can be obtained on voice, or via our datalink system.

Pilots intending to operate in the Gander OCA + Shanwick OCA should note the following:

  • Clearances for VFR climb or descent will not be granted.
  • The Mach number to be maintained will be specified for turbojet aircraft.
  • ATC will specify the full route details for aircraft cleared on a route other than an organized track or flight plan route. The pilot is to read back the full details of the clearance, including the cleared track.
  • ATC will issue an abbreviated oceanic clearance to aircraft that will operate along one of the NAT organized tracks. The abbreviated clearance will include the track letter, the flight level and the Mach number to be maintained (for turbojet aircraft). The pilot is to read back the clearance including the TMI number. ATC will confirm the accuracy of the readback and the TMI number.
  • If the aircraft is designated to report meteorological information, the pilot will be advised by the inclusion of the phrase “SEND MET REPORTS” in the clearance.

Whether received via datalink or voice, the oceanic clearance to enter the Gander OCA has the following meaning:

  • The clearance is valid only within oceanic airspace, and details the route, altitude and speed at which the flight is to enter oceanic airspace;
  • The flight crew is not immediately authorized to change the route, altitude or speed in order to comply with the oceanic clearance.

Voice clearance


The frequency is 128.450 (primary), or 135.450 (secondary) - Callsign is Gander Center (CZQX_OC_CTR). If this station is not online the clearance has to be requested from Gander Radio (CZQX_FSS) or ultimately Gander Domestic (i.e. the radar controller you are already talking to).

ATC will not initiate the communication. It is up to the Pilot to call ATC, not the other way around. If the pilot is on text only, clearance requests and position reports should be made via private chat, this is to ensure that even at peak flow the relevant data reaches the controller.

Below is the transcript of a typical Oceanic clearance:

  • Pilot: "Good evening Gander Center, Speedbird 188"
  • ATC: "Speedbird 188, Gander Center, Good evening, pass your message"
  • Pilot: "Speedbird 188 requesting clearance to London Heathrow via track WHISKEY, Flight Level 380, Mach .83. Estimating COLOR at 0246z"
  • ATC: "Speedbird 188 cleared to London Heathrow via COLOR, Track WHISKEY, FL380, Mach .83, cross COLOR latest at 0248z"
  • Pilot: "Speedbird 188 cleared to London Heathrow via COLOR, Track WHISKEY, FL380, Mach .83, crossing COLOR latest at 0248z, TMI 068"
  • ATC: "Speedbird 188, your readback is correct, return to previous frequency."

Datalink clearance

The datalink clearance can, 8 times out of 10, replace vocal clearances and expedite the process of obtaining oceanic clearance.

If all goes well and you obtain clearance via datalink you still have to read it back verbally to clearance to validate it, and confirm estimate over entry point. Typically the clearance message will give you a time when you must do this. Below is the transcript of a datalink readback:

  • Pilot: "Good evening Gander Center, Speedbird 188, datalink readback"
  • ATC: "Speedbird 188, Gander Center, Good evening, pass your message"
  • Pilot: "Speedbird 188 clearance number Zulu 468 estimating COLOR 0244z, TMI 068"
  • ATC: "Speedbird 188 your readback is correct, return to previous frequency."


Note: If your ETA for the entry point changes by more than 3 minutes, advise Gander Oceanic Clearance of your new ETA.

The procedure for aircraft departing Europe is very similar, except that:

If you are at an airport west of 03°W you receive your oceanic clearance on the ground, after receiving your normal airways clearance.
If you are at an airport east of 03°W you will get your oceanic clearance passing 03°W - that is, you are already airborne.