Airlines Back Creation of Global Drone Registry

The world’s airlines are supporting the creation of a global registry for drones. This endeavor will be led by the United Nations and is intended to curb the increasing incidents of collisions by drones and commercial jets.  The International Air Transport Association supports the efforts of the United Nations’ aviation agency to create this type of registry because it could also help monitor the number of accidents that involve drones and other aircraft, stated the director of air traffic management infrastructure at IATA, Rob Eagles.

IATA will collaborate with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in using the data from the registry in improving safety.  ICAO is creating this registry as part of a larger effort to come up with general controls for flying and monitoring drones.  One of the most important features of the registry is the data which will include reporting of incidents and accidents. This data will come in very useful for safety and flight operations decision making.

Airlines and airport management are expectant that the drone registry will create stricter penalties for drone operations near airports. They believe that these steps will help reduce the potential damage caused by a drone/aircraft collision.  In the U.K., the number of close mishaps between drones and aircraft has increased greatly between 2015 to 2017. There were about 92 incidents reported in 2017 alone, according to the U.K. Airprox Board.

On a recent Tokyo flight, a Boeing 777-200 airplane with 278 passengers on board almost struck a drone that was about 15 feet away. The aircraft was descending into Auckland airport when this happened and even though there wasn’t a serious collision, a drone registry would have helped law enforcement to identify and locate the drone operator.

The head of a Swiss-based aviation company called SITA, Barbara Dalibard stated that her organization wants to create a blockchain drone registry. The company has been working with Geneva Airport and testing geo-fenced zones at the airport where drones listed in the registry were able to fly.

Dalibard explained that data will be gathered from the airport’s drone registry system for the use in reporting drones that violate restricted airspace . When a drone is close to the airport, the system can order the drone to change direction or leave the area. The flight plan can be changed mid-flight so that danger can be effectively averted.

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