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U-Space and drones

U-Space and drones

22 April 2021: The U-space package - three regulations that together create the conditions necessary for both drones and manned aircraft to operate safely in shared airspace, was adopted by the Commission on 22 April.

These regulations introduce new services for drone operators, allowing them to carry out more complex and longer-distance operations, particularly in congested, low-level airspace (below 120m), and when out of sight.

The U-space is included in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, laying the foundations for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises.

The regulatory package will now enter into force in April and will become applicable as of 26 January 2023.

A high-level Q&A sheet has also been published by the Commission.

In tandem, EASA have issued an updated version (Edition 3) of the Terms of Reference of the rule making task (RMT) 0230.

The three adopted regulations that comprise the U-Space package can be found here, here and here.

The Q&A published by the Commission can be accessed here.

The updated ToRs on RMT0230 are available here.


Associations reiterate need for further U-Space engagement

On Monday 25 January, the signatory associations from the ‘We are all ONE in the sky’ initiative, which includes ERA, released an open letter to the Commission and member states. The letter welcomed the progress that has been made in the latest U-Space regulation, but importantly, it highlighted those outstanding areas that we all believe must be further analysed before the regulation is finalised.

These open issues where the group request additional clarification include:

  • The concept of dynamic airspace reconfiguration between manned and unmanned traffic, including the segregation of airspace and safety implications.
  • The 'Common Information Service' should be reinforced and explicitly required to be provided as 'single point of truth' and as the single point of access for information exchange.
  • Concerns in respect of the provision of Traffic Information Services (TIS) at low altitudes.
  • The responsibilities and liabilities to be borne by different actors.
  • Business and financial aspects including cost of integration, best fit/avoidance of overlap with the SES2+ proposal and impact assessments all need further assessment.

The signatories remain committed to jointly developing a regulation that will provide a solid basis going forward to enable the development of a robust, safe, and efficient drone services economy and the benefits therein.

The letter can be accessed here.