High Level Conference on Drones explores future drone market and new European drone regulation

Drone experts from all over the world are gathering in Amsterdam on 27-28 November 2018 for this year’s EASA High Level Conference on Drones.

During the 2-day conference, policy makers, drone specialists and industry leaders will discuss the new European drone regulation and explore the future drone market. The event is organised by EASA and hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and takes place during the first Amsterdam Drone Week at RAI Amsterdam. 

In light of the European drone regulation, which EASA has prepared earlier this year and which the European Commission is expected to adopt in the first half of 2019, the participants will discuss how harmonised rules will contribute to the development of a common European market while ensuring safe operations and respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens. 

Among other topics, regulators and industry will take a look at the future drone market and assess the impact of smart mobility on the environment and urban development. What is the state of play of the U-space services, a system that connects all drones flying in the airspace and that makes drones visible for authorities and citizens and what are in general the future plans to keep drone operations safe, secure and environmentally friendly.  

Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA: “Thanks to the joint efforts performed by EASA and the European Commission with the extensive support from the Member States and stakeholders we have created the foundation for EU wide rules for drone operations. As this industry is rapidly expanding it is important for us to anticipate market developments and be prepared for change. Events like this High Level Conference on Drones and the Amsterdam Drone Week enable us to look at new technologies, products and businesses. It’s a way to engage with the drone community at large to exchange experiences and share our visions.”  

Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management: “I fully support the creation of a European drone services market. It is important for its innovative strength, and for employment in Europe and in the Netherlands. That is why I am pleased that the European regulations are almost ready. In order to provide opportunities for European and of course Dutch businesses in this market, I am actively contributing to the development of the drones market in Europe.”

At the end of this year’s conference the “Amsterdam Declaration” will be adopted by the European Commission, EASA, national authorities and the industry identifying priorities on how to enable this new sector to grow in the best and safest way possible. 
The conference will host more than 500 visitors from over 50 countries. Among the participants are Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA, Jan-Henrik Dronkers, Director General for Civil Aviation and Maritime Affairs of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and key note speaker Jean Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President of Engineering of Airbus Commercial Aircraft. The event will be attended by a wide range of representatives of international organisations, research institutes, academia, regulatory authorities and industry, including Boeing, Bell, Lilium, Volocopter and small drone manufacturers, service providers and operators. 

Follow the event on social media with the hashtag #HLCdrones2018

Background information: New Regulatory framework:  

On 4 July 2018 the European Parliament and the Council adopted updated aviation safety rules for Europe, Regulation (EU) 2018/1139, including a new mandate for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the domain of drones and urban air mobility. This regulation entered into force on 11 September 2018. It enables the Agency to prepare rules for all sizes of civil drones and harmonise standards for the commercial market across Europe. 

Already in February this year EASA issued a proposal for a new regulation and published Opinion 01/2018 (‘Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in the ‘open’ and ‘specific’ categories’) on safe operations for drones in Europe to keep drone operations safe and secure and build a wider regulatory framework. The proposal is serving as a basis for the European Commission to adopt an EU regulation in 2019 which will cover the categories open, specific and the certified category.

This first EU-wide regulation for civil drones will be based on an innovative way of regulating, keeping rules as simple as possible with a strong focus on particular operational risks and taking into account that flying a drone over a city centre has a very different level of risk compared to the operation of a drone over the sea (the so-called Operation centric concept)

International experts from across the drone community have worked together on this new regulatory framework for the safe operation of drones across European airspace, thus bringing legal certainty and clarity for this rapidly expanding industry.

Patrick Ky, Executive Director: “This regulation will enable the free circulation of drones and a level playing field within the European Union, while also respecting the privacy and security of EU citizens, and allowing the drone industry to remain agile, to innovate and continue to grow”.