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New ACI Europe guidance document: Drons in the airport environment



As drone technology becomes ever more sophisticated, the potential uses of these unmanned aircraft systems seem almost limitless. For airport operators, managing the threats and opportunities drones present, whilst keeping the airport environment safe and secure, is a delicate balance. 


In February 2019, the ACI Europe Drone Task Force was formed with the aim of discussing drone operations at airports with all relevant stakeholders, not only to exchange information but also to provide guidance on how drone operations could be facilitated, whilst ensuring the necessary safety and security levels at airports. It was agreed that one of the deliverables should be a Concept of Operations (ConOps), designed to provide clarity and recommendations to the airport community (airport operators, air traffc control, surveillance units, drone operators, etc.), as well as the regulation and standardisation bodies (European Commission, EASA, Civil Aviation Authorities, EUROCAE, etc.).

This ConOps is intended to exceed the general concept of operations as it includes background information, a number of recommendations and reference material in the Annex. The idea is that stakeholders involved in airport drone operations can nd the most relevant information they would need to get themselves organised, without the need to look elsewhere. It is the desire of ACI Europe that this Concept Document will become the recognised reference material for drone operations in the airport environment, serving multiple stakeholders.

ACI Europe also hopes that the principles of operating with drones in the airport environment described in this document will inspire Regulators and Competent Authorities to embrace the ideas and recommendations, and work together with all stakeholders, including standardisation bodies, to develop technical and operational standards across Europe based on
this document.

To help airports and regulators alike navigate the challenges of drone operations, ACI Europe has produced a comprehensive set of recommendations in its latest publication Drones in the Airport Environment – Concept of Operations & Industry Guidance.

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