Airports Council International (ACI) World and industry partners have spoken of the pressing need for standards and guidance to address unauthorized drone operations to the 40th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly.
ACI World, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented a paper on the subject at the recent 40th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly. Entitled The need for standards and guidance to mitigate the risks of, and to improve response to unauthorized UAS operations, the paper stated that disruption to airport operations by drones is a matter that requires urgent attention by ICAO, states and the industry.
In addition to the safety risk that comes directly from unauthorized drone – or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – operations, several major airports have been shut down by drone sightings around the world and this major disruption has led to frustration for passengers and substantial economic costs.
The ICAO Assembly supported the working paper, recognizing the safety risks associated with the unauthorized presence of unmanned aircraft in close vicinity to commercial aircraft and airports and noted the offer from the industry to assist in drafting suitable guidance material.
The Assembly was invited to invite the ICAO to establish a process to enable the industry to provide input to mitigate the risks of, and improve government and industry responses to, unauthorized drone operations, such as: developing guidance material; developing a generic concept of operation that could be used by states to establish procedures; and defining taxonomy related to UAS incidents and accidents.
“The issue of unauthorized drone incursions is a clear and present risk to airport operations around the world,” ACI World director general Angela Gittens said. “ACI is ready to join our industry partners to work with ICAO in drafting new international guidance material which builds upon existing standard, guidance, and regulations to protect operations and assist airports in responding to incidents. The industry needs harmonized processes for the detection of – and counter measures against – unauthorized drone operations that may interfere with international aviation.”