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On Air, Issue 11: EASA and the world of Drones - Editorial

EASA and the world of Drones

Drones have become a priority for EASA. The industry is growing rapidly but it is an innovation that does not comes from the traditional aviation. Many different types of drones are used for different purposes (surveillance, filming, transport, etc.) and it is not possible to cover all these applications with only one rule.

The risks generated are also new: for example, who takes responsibilities when a 3rd party is damaged? What happens at the airspace level with potential collisions?

Following the so-called Riga declaration in March 2015 which set the scene for the European approach to enable the opening of the drone market, we have reached a new milestone this week with the adoption of the Warsaw declaration in the way this promising market should be regulated. The declaration:

  • noted the enormous potential of the drone services market with estimates ranging as high as one hundred billion euros in the coming years.
  • urged the further development of this potential to support European Union (EU) competitiveness and global leadership.
  • called for the swift development of a drone ecosystem that is simple to use, affordable, commercially and operationally friendly, yet capable of addressing all societal concerns such as safety, security, privacy and environmental protection.
  • welcomed the progress being made towards a flexible framework of safety regulation at EU level based on the operation centric approach,
  • and called for the safety rules to be kept simple, proportionate to the risk of the operation, performance-based, future-proofed, and based on global standards. Urged industry to develop open standards to support performance-based regulation.

Patrick Ky

EASA Executive director