Airservices Australia survey predicts 60 million drone flights by 2043

Airservices Australia commissioned an analysis of the drone market that predicts commercial drone flights will increase by an average of 20% per annum over the next 20 years – culminating in 60 million flights in 2043.

According to Airservices, the last five years has seen a significant maturing of the drone industry in Australia and globally. Advancement of technologies and ingenuity of use cases is driving greater adoption of drone use across Australia.

Airservices commissioned Scyne Advisory to analyse growth of the drone and advanced air mobility market (including air taxis) in Australia to inform Airservices’ delivery of capabilities that will underpin Australia’s uncrewed aircraft systems traffic management (UTM) ecosystem – including the Flight Information Management System (FIMS).

▶ The report predicts that commercial drone flights will increase by an average of 20% per annum over the next 20 years – culminating in 60 million flights in 2043. ◀

The growth in flights will be driven primarily by the transport and logistics industry – around 50 million flights (77% of total flights in 2043). It is estimated that the current number of drone flights last year were around 1.5 million.

Growth will be focused in densely populated areas, driving the need for an operational UTM to maintain safe and equitable access to shared airspace.

Read the full report here

The report, “Sizing the future drone and advanced air mobility market in Australia”, which is now available to download on Airservice Australia’s website, was produced to inform the ongoing discussion on how Australia can best prepare for and benefit from the increasing availability of drone technology and future planning for uncrewed air traffic management.

Drones are already used widely in Australia in agriculture and mining however the exponential growth in drone traffic in our skies is expected to be driven by increased demand from the transport and logistics sector as well as increased usage by emergency services, supporting police, ambulance and surf lifesaving operations. Advanced Air Mobility is also being factored into these figures, with electric air taxis predicted to make nearly 1 million flights by 2043, with providers targeting Australian launches to coincide with the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.

The Australian Association for Uncrewed Systems (AAUS) is supportive of this research as it highlights the potential for industry and the benefits drones can deliver to Australia providing all current barriers to regulation be effectively addressed. AAUS supports the data driven approach taken by Airservices and the Australian Government to inform policy development and implementation.

AAUS is also part of Airservice Australia’s Uncrewed Services Advisory Network (USAN) and plays an active role in the discissions around the opportunities and challenges of integrating Australia’s airspace. Airspace integration and an update on Airservice’s Flight Information Management Systems (FIMS) will also be key topics of discussion at AAUS’ RPAS in Australian Skies conference in Canberra next month.

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