We are all ONE in the Sky! Under this maxim,18 European Aviation Industry Associations have agreed to work together in support of a harmonized, EU-wide regulatory safety framework for the integration of the latest airspace users – unpiloted aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones. This initiative materialized in a position paper (pdf) presented to the European Commission.
For IATA and the entire industry, safety is the number one priority, and UAS integration is by definition a high priority. Flying safely and securely in all levels and areas of airspace is part of our mission. True to our belief that together we are stronger, a large list of European associations decided to join forces and enhance the cooperation between the industry, drone manufacturers and governments to reduce the risks of rogue drone operations.
Last year IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac commented, “UAS operations will only grow in scale in Europe and abroad. So it is important that we have a comprehensive approach to UAS integration that is aligned with global recommendations being developed through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). UAS integration into the wider family of airspace users must be safe, efficient and fair. That is at the heart of the “We are ONE in the Sky” initiative.”
Airlines, institutions and individuals are aware of the threat caused by drones. However, this issue is also absolutely key for airports, and not only the ones which made the news recently in Europe such as London Gatwick, London Heathrow, or Frankfurt Airport, which faced the latest drone-related disruption. The question about how to efficiently implement protection against drones impacting safety and operations, is still mostly unanswered. This can be explained in large part by the lack of regulations at both national and European levels.
Main issues the industry is currently focusing and working on: