Spain plans to deploy basic U-space services in 2022 and launch of UTM in 2023

In anticipation of new European drone rules, approved in 2020 and due to come into effect in 2023, Spanish air navigation service provider ENAIRE says it will introduce basic U-space services by 2022 and launch Common Information Service Provision (CISP) in 2023. The new regulation involves the automated management of drone operations, as well as those associated with Urban Air Mobility (UAM), which are expected for 2025.

ENAIRE is playing a key role in managing unmanned aerial traffic, and especially as a provider of CIS services nationwide. This activity includes validation and implementation of U-space services in addition to playing a secondary role as a public U-space Service Provider (USSP) for government and law enforcement agencies, among others.

ENAIRE’s Head of Drone Business Development Department, Daniel García-Monteavaro, highlighted the plans of ENAIRE to implement the U-space regulation at the seminar “Drones and Spanish talent: Pioneering R&D projects in the aeronautical sector”, organised by Garrigues and AEDAE (Spanish Association of Aeronautical and Space Law), where the most innovative drone projects developed in Spain were showcased.

In its initial phase, U-space will be constrained to a defined, segregated airspace designated for the exclusive use of drones, although in the future it will be able to guarantee drone operations in all operating environments and airspaces (including at very low levels). For the deployment of U-space, the regulation lays out the services needed for its operation, such as remote identification, authorised flight service, geo-awareness, as well as the “Common Information Service” (CIS), an essential set of dynamic and static data supplied reliably and in real time to ensure the safety and efficiency of operations.

“The increasing activity in the drone sector poses a challenge for safely managing operations in coordination with manned aviation”, said Daniel García-Monteavaro. Activity in the drone sector has increased exponentially in recent years in Spain: in 2020 alone, the drone operations coordinated by ENAIRE totalled 1,646, a 207% increase compared to 2019 (536) and 362% more than in 2018 (358).

García-Monteavaro also pointed out some of the most innovative projects in the field of urban air mobility and air taxis. These are pilot initiatives under the Single European Sky (SESAR JU) framework, the flights for which will be carried out in 2022. Specifically, air taxi flights in Spain will begin in Santiago de Compostela (AMU-LED project) and Villacarrillo, Jaén (USPACE4UAM project), as will parcel flights at Playa de Casteldefels in Barcelona (CORUS-XUAM Project).

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