President of ACI EUROPE on drone disruptions at airports

Dr Michael Kerkloh, president of ACI EUROPE and chief executive officer of Munich Airport, spoke about the potential impact of recent drone disruptions at its annual New Year Reception in the European Parliament last night (January 22).

The airport industry is mindful of the many new opportunities that drone technology provides from runway inspection to navigation equipment calibration and surveillance. Safety regulation for drones continue to progress with EASA and the European Commission, with the full support of all Europe’s airports.

Dr Kerkloh said: “There are two obvious short-term ways of mitigating and reducing risks: One is to establish common rules on the exact area around airports to be designated no-drone zones. Two is to ensure technology prevents drones from entering no-fly zones either by sending them back or disabling them—also known as geofencing—is mandatory for all commercially sold drones. This is not the case for now.”

ACI EUROPE believes that detection capabilities from the ground and procedures for preventing drones from entering airport perimeters must be looked at. The association is ready to assist regulators in testing and reviewing available technological solutions as well as the need for clearly established roles and responsibilities between airports and law enforcement authorities.

Dr Kerkloh said airports have suffered with recent illegal use of drones—including disrupted operations at Gatwick and Heathrow at the end of December last year (2018).

Photo credit: