Roadmap for drone operations in the European Union (EU)

Drone technology brings radical changes. The drone technology creates opportunities for new services and applications. They represent a tremendous opportunity both for our aeronautical manufacturing industry, especially for small and medium sized enterprises, and for the many aviation and nonaviation businesses that will be able to integrate drones into their activities, and increase their efficiency and competitiveness. Drone technology will pose a regulatory challenge.

Today’s aviation safety rules are not adapted to drone operations. Given the broad variety of types of drones being used under very differing operation conditions, the regulatory framework must move from an aircraft centric approach towards an operation centric approach.

The particular risk of a particular type of operation is the starting point. In addition to safety, concerns related to privacy and data protection, security, liability and insurance or environment will also be taken into account. The global drone technology needs a large single market.

To facilitate free circulation and for safety reasons, all drones must be covered, even small ones. And the rules must be kept proportionate to risk to ensure that small and medium sized enterprises as well as start-ups are not hampered by heavy and costly rules and procedures. And the performance based rules will seek to rely on industry standards as far as possible. At the same time, the common rules (e.g. on the geofencing mechanism and its data interfaces) will allow competent authorities to reflect local circumstances or conditions, (e.g. local authorities may identify concrete areas of airspace that need to be geo-fenced) and should not lead to a one size fits all policy.

This roadmap describes how drones could be safely operated in the EU airspace and how the operation centric approach will be rolled out in the EU in the coming years to maintain the high EU levels of safety, privacy and data protection, security, or environmental protection. The annexes list the concrete actions that will be undertaken in the coming years.

Read it all EASA_EU-Roadmap-Operation-Centric-Approach-Drone-Ops-v13_160620

(UK readers see what I did here(ed))