Seventeen European aviation organizations are asking the European Commission to implement “an all-inclusive, cooperative approach” to the integration of drones into European airspace.
In an open letter to European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, the organizations ─ including representatives of airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, sports aviation, pilots, business aviation, helicopter operators and aircraft manufacturers ─ said the European Commission should begin new, comprehensive consultations on the issue and include representatives from organizations involved with both manned and unmanned aviation.
One of the signers, the European Regions Airline Association (ERA), said in a statement that the organizations “encourage and support the ambition of the European Union to lead global efforts to develop a proportionate regulatory framework for U-Space, which encompasses new services and procedures intended to support “safe, efficient and secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones.”
The statement added, “From a safety, public security, capacity and economic perspective, a performance-based and risk-based regulatory framework can provide certainty to all airspace users and the aviation community. Ultimately, it can also facilitate the safe integration of drones in Europe’s skies, ensuring commercial drone services can grow.”
ERA said that the signers believe that lessons learned from implementing U-Space will aid in similar efforts around the world; first, however, the U-Space regulatory framework must have the support of the entire European aviation industry.
The signers said they are concerned about a number of U-Space issues, including how U-Space will affect all airspace users, the integration of operations and the potential implications of the proposed system architecture.