Belgium air navigation service provider skeyes and its subsidiary SkeyDrone have drafted a new concept of operations for the handling of drones by skeyes air traffic services units in anticipation of the new European regulation (EU IR 2019/947) that comes into force from 31 December 2020. This regulation provides a new framework for the use of drones in different types of airspace, most notably in low-level airspace.
The general principle of the new regulation is that drones will be allowed to operate in the entire airspace except if there is a “UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) geographical zone”. For instance, around major airports, these zones are created to define constraints or to prohibit access to these zones in order to guarantee safety of operations for all airspace users.
Therefore, UAS geographical zones are created within controlled airspace managed by skeyes and for the Kortrijk Radio Mandatory Zone via a Ministerial decree. These UAS geographical zones have access criteria, depending on, among others, the category of the drone operation. Other geographical zones in Belgium will be managed by the relevant BCAA-appointed “UAS geographical zone manager”. An overview of these zones will be available on https://map.droneguide.be as of 31/12/2020.
Along with the implementation of the new regulation, skeyes also took the opportunity to provide easy access for drone operators in the lowest volumes of its controlled airspace. This was done by subdividing the geozone in different areas, with less stringent requirements the further you are from the airport.
Developed by the subsidiary SkeyDrone, a dedicated digital platform called the Drone Service Application enables access to these geographical zones. The tool is a first step towards implementing the so-called U-space and paves the way for the emergence of U-space Service Providers (USSPs).
Johan Decuyper, CEO skeyes said: “skeyes and SkeyDrone are ready for the future of drone traffic, as we will be playing our part in the integration of drone operations in the Belgian airspace. By creating new ways of working, and keeping a close coordination with the drone community via the Belgian Civil Drone Council, skeyes ensures its compliancy with the European drone regulation, as well as the related Belgian Royal and Ministerial decrees, which enter into force in December 2020.”
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