The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) along with Europe’s leading aviation associations call on the European Commission to develop an inclusive and cooperative approach to ensure the safe integration of drones in the European airspace.
The joint signatories of the ‘We are all ONE in the sky’ initiative sent an open letter to the EU’s Commissioner for Transport, Ms. Adina Vălean, on EASA’s proposal for a high-level regulatory framework for unmanned aviation operations and traffic management (U-Space).
Commenting on the open letter, EBAA Secretary-General Athar Husain Khan said:
“EBAA has always supported an inclusive approach that takes into account the needs of all airspace users. The current proposal from EASA is a promising first step, but more work is required to find a solution that does not limit airspace availability”.
The letter calls on the European Commission to:
- Develop further the latest regulation proposal to secure the support of the aviation industry;
- Launch a new and more comprehensive consultation, involving key representatives from manned and unmanned aviation organisations;
- Ensure transparency and efficiency in the regulatory processes and related decision-making processes.
The signatories encourage and support the ambition of the European Union to lead global efforts to develop a proportionate regulatory framework for U-Space. 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.
The signatories believe that the upcoming U-Space Regulation represents an important first opportunity to achieve this goal worldwide. The lessons learnt from the implementation of the proposed regulation in Europe should be leveraged to inform ICAO’s Global UTM Framework and other regulatory efforts across the world. As such, it is crucial that the regulatory framework achieves a number of key principles, as set out in the joint signatories’ letter of November 2019, and ensures the buy-in of the whole industry – manned and unmanned.
While some progress has been made since the first draft Opinion was published in October 2019, the revised draft Regulation still does not fully address the concerns that were raised by the stakeholders in their November letter. The signatories retain concerns on a number of issues, including the implications for the safety of all airspace users; the level of clarity on responsibilities of actors within the system; how to facilitate interoperability and the integration of operations; the potential implications of the proposed architecture of the system; and practical aspects as to how such a framework might be implemented.
The signatories call on the European Commission and Member States to take these concerns and suggestions into account when considering how to best proceed with this very important piece of regulation.
The ‘We are all ONE in the sky’ initiative represents airlines, air navigation service provides, airports, business aviation, general aviation, helicopters, aircraft and drone manufacturers and professional staff organisations. Members of the initiative are:
- Airlines for Europe (A4E)
- Airports Council International Europe (ACI EUROPE)
- Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE)
- Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC)
- Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO)
- Europe Air Sports (EAS)
- European Business Aviation Association (EBAA)
- European Cockpit Association (ECA)
- European Helicopter Association (EHA)
- European Regions Airline Association (ERA)
- European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)
- General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
- International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA)
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA)
- International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA)
- International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA)
About EBAA: The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is the leading organisation for operators of business aircraft in Europe. Our mission is to enable responsible, sustainable growth for business aviation, enhance connectivity and create opportunities. EBAA works to improve safety standards and share knowledge, to further positive regulation and to ease all aspects of closely tailored, flexible, point to point air transportation for individuals, governments, businesses and local communities in the most time-efficient way possible. Founded in 1977 and based in Brussels, EBAA represents +700 members companies, corporate operators, commercial operators, manufacturers, airports, fixed-based operators, and more, with a total fleet of +1,000 aircraft.