Mobility and Transport

Air

Aviation Strategy: EU agrees to safer skies and EU-wide rules for drones

Aviation Strategy: EU agrees to safer skies and EU-wide rules for drones

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22/12/2017

The European Commission welcomes that the 28 EU Member States today endorsed an agreement struck with the European Parliament for the revision of the EU aviation safety regulation. The new regulation will maintain Europe's excellent safety record while eliminating red-tape and preparing for future challenges. Most notably, it establishes the first ever EU-wide framework for drones and for their safe and secure use. Today's development constitutes a major deliverable under the Commission's Aviation Strategy for Europe whose core objective is to support the competitiveness of the EU's aviation industry and reinforce its global leadership.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said, "I welcome that after two years of intense negotiations, we finally reached an agreement on the future of aviation safety in Europe. This is excellent news for passengers who will continue to enjoy the highest safety standards in the world and for our aviation industry. But this is not the end of the road. Our objective remains to deliver a clean, safe and secure drone ecosystem to Europeans in 2019, and we will now concentrate our efforts on implementing what has been agreed. There is no more time to lose!"

 

Next steps

The agreement now needs to be formally adopted by the plenary of the European Parliament and the 28 EU Ministers. This will be done in early 2018. Once this is completed, the European Commission will – on the basis of an opinion from the European Aviation Safety Agency – put forward detailed rules and technical standards.

In the meantime, the work of the European Commission and of the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR) continues for the creation of an automated traffic management system for drones operating at low-level (“U-space”).

 

Background information

Aviation is one of the EU’s key high-tech sectors on the global market. It provides more than 360,000 jobs and generated a turnover of close to €150 billion in 2015.

As part of the Aviation Strategy, the Commission proposed in December 2015 to update the EU's safety rules in order to maintain high safety standards alongside growing air traffic. This included the creation of a legal framework for drones in order to ensure safety and legal certainty for industry. Under existing rules, the EU is only competent for drones weighing above 150 kilograms which led to a fragmentation of the internal market with several Member States adopting conflicting rules.

After nearly two years of discussions, the European Parliament and the Council reached a preliminary agreement on the Commission's proposal on 29 November 2017. The deal was subject to the approval of the EU Member States, which was given today.

 

More information

An Aviation Strategy for Europe

U-Space blueprint

Helsinki Declaration on Drones (November 2017)

SESAR Joint Undertaking