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Better rules and controls are needed to counter the threat of drones to the safety of European airspace, according to an airline trade body.
Drones – remotely piloted aircraft systems [RPAS] – weighing less than 150kg are regulated by some countries, and those above by the European Aviation Safety Agency.
But the rapid increase in the use of for recreational purposes is a significant hazard to commercial aircraft, the European Regions Airline Association warns.
Director general, Simon McNamara, said: “Recent near misses between RPAS and commercial aircraft illustrate why swift action must be taken to protect Europe’s passengers, crews and residents through better regulation of European airspace.
“Recent examples of incidents include two near misses in July – one between an RPAS and a commercial aircraft on its approach to Warsaw international airport and another between an RPAS and an Airbus A320 on its final approach to Heathrow.
“Worryingly, only some EU member states have regulations for the flying of smaller RPAS in place.
“With a dramatic increase in the use and commercialisation of RPAS, European aviation needs to act now to harmonise standards and rules across the region.”
He called for urgent measures to safeguard European airspace and incorporate the operation of drones into commercial airspace.
McNamara added: “ERA welcomes the work being done by EASA and others to integrate RPAS into Europe’s aviation system in a safe and risk-free manner which will allow this innovative technology to grow in a safe way.
“However, action needs to be taken now with regulators and industry groups joining forces to tackle this issue together.”
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