The Commission adopts new rules to ensure the safety of drones operations

Following the entry into force of the new aviation safety Basic Regulation, on 24 May 2019 the European Commission adopted new rulesto ensure increasing drone traffic across Europe is safe for people on the ground and in the air. The new rules, which will apply to all operators of drones, both professionals and amateurs, are part of the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe and, together with the technical requirements for drones, aim not only at strengthening the competitiveness of the EU’s aviation industry, but also at mitigating drone related security risks.

Despite the rules apply to all drones regardless of their weight, the majority of drones concerned belong to the market of mass-produced drones, which merely need to meet a minimum set of requirements. In particular, the operators’ registration, to be completed as of 2020, the remote identification and the definition of geographical zones are envisaged to provide all national authorities the means to prevent misuse or unlawful drone activities. Moreover, operators of drones weighing less than 25 kg will be able to fly those without prior permission under a certain number of conditions, that is the drone must not fly higher than 120 meters and that the operator always keeps it in his/her visual line of sight and far away from people. This way, it will be easier for member States to define so-called “no-fly zones” where, through satellite geo-location, drones will not be allowed to enter. 

In order to ensure the new rules will be followed,the European Commission and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will publish guidelines and so-called “standard scenarios”, which will complete the systematic review of all existing EU aviation rules in order to identify the necessary changes to improve its applicability to drone operations.

Sara Capruzzi