Australia anticipates air taxis at Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games – The Guardian

Australia’s air navigation service provider Airservices expects the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games “to be catalysing event for air taxis”, according to Luke Gumley, Airservices head of transformation uncrewed services in an exclusive interview with The Guardian newspaper.

Australia is building an air traffic control system for drones as authorities prepare for a surge in uncrewed aircraft flights and flying taxis over the next decade, says the report. Analysis commissioned by Airservices Australia predicts that drone flights in the country will surge to 60m by 2043 including delivery drones, air taxis and other pilotless operations. At present, there are about 1.5m drone flights a year. “The way we do air traffic control today won’t work for the number of drones we expect to see in our skies,” Luke Gumley said.

Ultimately, the drone management system would have to integrate with the broader control of air traffic in Australia, to ensure drones didn’t interfere with commercial flights and to stop them from crashing into each other, Gumley told The Guardian.

Australia would examine US and European Union drone management so local systems were interoperable with international standards. New rules would focus on commercial operations such as drones and air taxis as opposed to smaller consumer and photography drones, but Gumley predicted that in particularly busy urban areas “we might need recreational [drone] pilots to take some additional steps to fly”.

Airservices Australia believes the first wave of air taxis will have pilots onboard but said it was aware of some companies hoping to launch with uncrewed operations – so the agency was planning a management system that could handle both.

Jason Harfield, chief executive of Airservices Australia, said: “Drones are the biggest growth area in aviation. Our partnership with Frequentis to develop a Fims [flight information management system] will enable us to integrate traditional and new airspace users into increasingly busy airspace,” concludes the report.

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