Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport installs drone detection system

International Airport Kortrijk-Wevelgem in Belgium is installing a new drone detection system to ensure air traffic safety in and around the airport. To test this system, the airport temporarily suspended crewed air traffic today (May 22) for several drone demonstration tests.

The region of West Flanders is committed to drone operations and is activating regional airports as future drone hubs. “To coordinate uncrewed and crewed air traffic, we first need to map all authorised and unauthorised flights in and around the West Flanders airport area. Safety is paramount,” said Jean de Bethune, Chairman of the West Flanders Development Agency. The agency commissioned SkeyDrone to equip Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport with drone detection technology. The Ostend-Bruges Airport is also being equipped with the technology.

Drone operators who wish to fly near a controlled airport must request their flight in advance to skeyes via the Drone Service Application, a tool developed by SkeyDrone. 

While Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport temporarily suspended crewed air traffic, drone company Droprise flew a drone over and around the airport from an automatic loading and launching platform. VIVES operated the camera of this drone from Drone Dock in Ostend. Simultaneously, a drone commissioned by skeyes took to the air. Afterwards, a cargo drone carrying a package up to 40 kg flew over the airport. All activities were monitored in real time from the control room, with SkeyDrone’s detection equipment recording and coordinating all flights.

In the coming years, air traffic control for the Flemish regional airports will be managed from a single digital control tower. In this tower, air traffic controllers will receive airport images via cameras on masts in an external control room. The drone flight commissioned by skeyes identified the location to place a mast with cameras to send images to this digital tower. 

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