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The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) have announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Mitigation at Airports. The Task Force brings together a cross-section of stakeholders representing the airport, UAS and manned aviation communities to refine procedural practices and provide a policy framework to address the timely and critical issue of incursions by unauthorized UAS at airports and how best to mitigate this threat.
“UAS interfering with manned aviation is a serious issue, and it requires serious solutions. That is why we are bringing together the best and brightest minds to recommend a plan to keep our skies safe for the flying public,” said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of AUVSI during a news conference at XPONENTIAL 2019. “While UAS hold tremendous societal and economic benefits, occasional bad actors threaten to undermine the great progress we have made and even put responsible, legal UAS operations in a negative light.”
Serious concerns regarding unauthorized and unsafe drone operations near airports have been highlighted by the major disruption such activity caused at London Gatwick Airport in December 2018 and Newark Liberty International Airport in January 2019.
The Task Force members will examine and develop recommendations around two main areas. First, they will generate expert-led dialogue to refine procedural practices for airports, law enforcement and other stakeholders to ensure efficient and seamless responses to future UAS incidents. Second, they will develop a longer-term policy framework based on the experience from the initial efforts to deter incursions and emerging technologies.
The goal is for this work to lead to and inform future conversations about UAS mitigation at other facilities, such as national landmarks, stadiums, prisons and military bases.
“One of ACI-NA’s highest priorities is ensuring unauthorized and unsafe drone operations do not adversely affect the safety or security of U.S. and Canadian airports,” said Kevin Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA, at the news conference. “With more and more drones flying in the airspace, we have found ourselves in a new situation with no clear playbook. By bringing together this exceptional group of experts, we are hopeful we can make significant progress in developing best practices that will help airports respond better.”