Several European Member States are understood to have requested a postponement of the applicability date (July 1, 2020) of the European Union (EU) Implementation Regulation, given the current disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unmanned Airspace understands that some States are proposing January 2021 as the new deadline. The Dutch drone news website www.dronewatch.nl has reported (https://www.dronewatch.nl/2020/04/08/europese-drone-regelgeving-uitgesteld-wegens-corona/) that the German Transport Ministry has sent an email with an explanation to various stakeholders, quoting the message: “Due to the current coronavirus situation and the impact on the transport sector, many Member States have spoken to the European Commission to postpone the implementing acts that have already come into force but still need to come into force.”
According to the website: “The European Commission has responded positively to this issue and announced, after reviewing its legal service, that it will initiate written proceedings to amend the relevant legal acts. This includes implementing regulation (EU) 2019/947 on the rules and procedures for flying unmanned aerial vehicles.”
According to a post from Sophie O’Sullivan, Head of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (“Update on COVID related changes and EASA regulations”), which appeared in a Linkedin post.
“We are working closely with the Government and European colleagues to delay the applicability of the forthcoming EU UAS Implementing Regulation to beyond the original 1 July 2020. The length of this delay is being finalised but will be at least a number of months. We have already incorporated several amendments to the EU UAS Implementing Regulation into an updated edition of CAP 1789 ‘The EU UAS Regulation Package – Outline.’ We will publish this at the appropriate time and when the applicability dates can be included.
“We absolutely commit to informing the community as soon as we have any new information on timescales for introduction so please assume this remains the current information until we advise otherwise.”
According to the current timetable as from July 2020, national rules will be replaced by a common EU regulation. According to EASA: “While aiming primarily at ensuring safe operations of drones, the European regulatory framework will also facilitate the enforcement of citizen’s privacy rights and contribute to address security issues and environmental concerns in the benefit of the EU citizens. It will in addition enable the deployment of an Unmanned Traffic Management System, the U-Space, to support the development of drone operations in low-level airspace, beyond visual line of sight and congested areas.”
The reports circulated during the Easter break in Europe and Unmanned Airspace has not been able to reach the appropriate EU bodies for comment. More information will be published on this issue in due course.
| Current timetable for EU drone regulations
End of quarter 1 Publication of Opinion on U-space by EASA
1 July 2020 Registration of UAS operators & certified drones becomes mandatory.
Starting from 1st July 2020 all drone operators shall register themselves before using a drone in:
All certified drones (flown in high risk operations) shall be registered as well. The registration number needs to be displayed on the drone.
1 July 2020 Operations in ‘Specific’ category may be conducted after the authorisation given by the National Aviation Authority. Based on:
1 July 2020 Drone user can start operating in limited ‘Open’ category. Between 1st July 2020 till 1st July 2022:
1 July 2021 National authorisations, certificates, declarations are fully converted to the new EU system.
1 July 2022 All operations in the open category are conducted according to the EU regulation.