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HOT TOPIC Drones


Airports must be prepared to deal with incidents of this type, and the police need the proper powers to deal with drone offences.” Grayling added that since the Gatwick incident, the UK government had been “approached by airports around the world for our advice on how to handle something similar”, which he said could only be solved by “the smart and innovative use of new technology”.


Global issue


Looking more widely at how this issue can be tackled across the globe, Airports Council International (ACI) World in January issued an advisory bulletin to help airports deal with the risks posed by drone-related disruption. This urges all those involved in aviation to “work with the relevant agencies to take action to protect the safety of aircraft operations”. ACI World director general Angela Gittens


says recent drone disruption has “raised significant questions for airport operators around the world on their preparedness to handle situations like this”. “The highest authority for enforcement activities and initiating anti-drone measures will clearly be the relevant national authority, such as the Civil Aviation


For understandable security reasons, airports do not want to reveal publicly exactly what they are doing to prevent drones from disrupting their services. But there are several manufacturers of anti-drone equipment who say they have airports among their customers. These include Dedrone, which says it


firms for drone defence


Calling on Angela Gittens


Authority (CAA)


in the UK, and local law enforcement agencies,” adds Gittens. “It is incumbent on all industry


stakeholders, however, to take action to protect the safety of aircraft operations in co-ordination 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.” As part of this move to better tackle the


drone issue, ACI World is also asking for its airport members to share experiences and “lessons learnt” from any drone incidents and the anti-drone measures they have used “so that relevant practices can be adopted across the industry”. Airports obviously cannot go it alone when it comes to the kind of anti-drone technology they install around their airfield, and need to work closely with local authorities and regulators. After the disruption at Newark in


January, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Newark Liberty and JFK airports, says it met with local, state and federal agencies “to review and enhance protocols for the rapid detection and interdiction of drones”. Meanwhile, the International Air


Transport Association (IATA) has called for a series of measures to reduce “rogue” drone operations, including a registry of drones “above a certain level of capability”, increased fines and prison sentences for offenders, and the use of technology to prevent drones entering restricted airspace. The Gatwick incident may indeed


is “currently protecting the airspace of several airports around the world” using technology that sends an alert to an airport when a drone enters restricted airspace and can follow the drone’s flightpath to locate the operator. The British Army is reported to have


used technology from Israeli defence firm Rafael, called Drone Dome, to end the Gatwick incident. This system deploys radar and


lasers to locate drones within a specified area, and then uses a radio frequency jammer to override the commands from the operator so the drone can be landed safely. Oleg Vornik, CEO of another


anti-drone technology firm DroneShield, says that he expects airports around the world to “accelerate their implementation of drone mitigation measures” following the Gatwick disruption.


90 ISSUE 2 ROUTES NEWS 2019 routesonline.com


represent a “wake-up call” for airports and governments around the world, and there seems plenty to do to prevent similar incidents – or something more serious – happening, with predictions of even more of these small unmanned aircraft zipping around our skies in the future. 


DroneShield is pioneering technology to deal with the problem


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