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The increasing use of drones is threatening the safety of European airspace and needs better regulation and control, an airline trade body has warned.
The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) is calling for “swift action” to protect passengers and residents after numerous near-misses between drones - remotely piloted aircraft systems [RPAS] - and aircraft.
Last month, a commercial flight on its approach to Warsaw International airport came close to striking a drone as did an Airbus A320 in 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,” said Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association.
RPAS weighing less than 150kg are regulated by some states and those above this by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The ERA said the “rapid increase” in the RPAS market for recreational purposes is a “significant hazard” to commercial aircraft.
McNamara added: “Europe needs urgent measures to safeguard its airspace and incorporate RPAS operations into commercial airspace.
“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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