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Better cooperation needed to ensure safe integration of drones

ERA, along with Europe’s leading aviation associations have called on the European Commission to develop an inclusive and cooperative approach to ensure the safe integration of drones in European airspace.

Last year, in November, ERA along with other European aviation associations published a joint paper, titled 'We are All One in the Sky' setting out the principles to support the safe integration of unmanned aircraft (drones) into European airspace. For many of the ERA airline membership, this integration of drones might present many operational and safety challenges that need to be closely monitored and mitigated. 

Following on from the publication of the this position paper, airline and industry associations in Europe have collaborated with various working groups and task forces within EASA and other Stakeholders to ensure a secure, safe and fair integration of the new entrants (RPAS, CU, UAS, VTOL and Air taxis)  in the shared and common used airspace. 

Several areas have been identified that the associations believe should be addressed moving forwards and these formed the basis of a joint open letter and press release to the EC Transport Commissioner which was published on 18th May. 

These include:
•    Further support to the Commission / EASA to improve the latest version of Implementing regulation 2019/947 and EASA Opinion 01/2020
•    Due to limited opportunities to contribute to the A new and comprehensive consultation is required in order for a wider level of stakeholder engagement and provision of additional inputs to the framework
•    Ensure enhanced transparency and efficiency of the regulatory processes

With respect to EASA Opinion 01/2020, which is the high-level regulatory framework for the ‘U-Space’, the associations also provided additional feedback / noted concerns in line with the position paper:
•    Maintaining and improving today’s high safety levels
•    Clarification of the responsibilities and liabilities of the different actors
•    Enabling common airspace situational awareness through enhanced information exchange
•    Maintaining airspace capacity
•    The creation of a flexible framework that accommodates the requirements of an evolving industry
•    The business and financial aspects, reinforcing that the financial burden of any specific equipage to become U-space cooperative cannot be accepted by conventional airspace users. As drone operators will be the benefactors of the creation of U-Space, it is only right they bear the costs of the all the services created.

Further meetings are planned during 2020 and the ERA Policy team will keep you appraised with the output.