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EU drone regulations address border crossings and delivery drones

Image credit: DT

Europe-wide rules on drone operation have been published by the EU including clarifications on how to use them across country borders

The rules are intended to provide a clear framework for what is and is not allowed, will help improve safety and make it easier for drone users to operate their craft in another European country.

“Once drone operators have received an authorisation in the state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the European Union. This means that they can operate their drones seamlessly when travelling across the EU or when developing a business involving drones around Europe,” the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) wrote.

The new rules, which will override any relevant existing national rules, will come into force from July 2020, giving member countries and operators time to prepare. However, with the UK expected to leave the EU before that time the rules are unlikely to apply in the country.

In May the UK Government introduced its own set of drone regulations which force owners of devices weighing more than 250g to register on a national drone database.

This followed calls from the aviation industry for tighter regulations due to the increasing incidence of near misses between drones and aircraft. Last December Gatwick was forced to suspend incoming and outgoing flights after drones were seen flying over its perimeter fence.

The EASA said the rules specify that new drones must be “individually identifiable”, allowing authorities to trace a particular drone if needed.

Three categories for will be created for drones operators: ‘open’ - which includes low-risk craft weighing up to 25kg, ‘specific’ - where drones will require authorization to be flown and certified - the highest risk category, such as operating delivery or passenger drones, or flying over large bodies of people. Each type will come with its own set of regulations.

“Europe will be the first region in the world to have a comprehensive set of rules ensuring safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones both, for commercial and leisure activities. Common rules will help foster investment, innovation and growth in this promising sector” said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA.

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