ACI seeks industry collaboration to protect airports from drones

29 January 2019 (Last Updated January 29th, 2019 11:49)

Airports Council International (ACI) has urged aviation industry, governments, and law enforcement agencies to take collective measures to protect aircraft and airports from drones.

ACI seeks industry collaboration to protect airports from drones
ACI recommends measures to tackle drone threats in and around airports. Credit: Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash.

Airports Council International (ACI) has urged aviation industry, governments, and law enforcement agencies to take collective measures to protect aircraft and airports from drones.

The trade association of airports worldwide has published a list of recommendations to help airports address the risks posed by drone-related disruption to aircraft operations.

Recent chaos at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports and a temporary halt to some operations at Newark Liberty International Airport caused by drone sightings have prompted ACI to discuss the best approach to preparing for and dealing with drone-related issues.

ACI World director general Angela Gittens said: “The recent drone-related disruptions at airports in Europe, and their potential impact on airport safety and operations, have raised significant questions for airport operators around the world on their preparedness to handle situations like this.

“Airport operators should be aware of national laws and regulations pertaining to drones, with an understanding that these may reside outside of civil aviation.”

“It is incumbent on all industry stakeholders, however, to take action to protect the safety of aircraft operations in coordination with these agencies. Airport operators should be aware of national laws and regulations pertaining to drones, with an understanding that these may reside outside of civil aviation.”

ACI has proposed that the industry stakeholders should develop a risk-based approach to dealing with the risks of drone incursions. It recommends that the approach should consider the impact on aircraft operations and available mitigation measures, including anti-drone actions.

The organisation also suggested that industry stakeholders should collaborate with national authorities to develop regulations governing the operation of drones in the adjacent areas of the airport.

ACI said airports should identify geographic boundaries of ‘No Drone Zones’ in the surrounding area of the airport and collaborate with the regulators to seek guidance for the deployment of anti-drone technologies.

Periodic airport security risk assessment is a must take measure to deal with security risks associated with the malicious use of drones, the trade association added.