Dutch government identifies segregated BVLOS drone flight area, close to Rotterdam

The area between Katwijk and the port of Rotterdam has been designated by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management as a preferred area for BVLOS flights with drones in closed airspace. The designation means that the province of South Holland can start the airspace and flight procedure change process to make the airspace available for BVLOS flights.

The designated area includes the drone test center Unmanned Valley and the port of Rotterdam, where work is being done on U-Space: an air traffic control system to manage drone traffic.

“It is currently complicated to fit BVLOS flights into the existing airspace where manned traffic also flies,” the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said in a statement. “Clearing an area of ​​other air traffic lowers the threshold for conducting a safe BVLOS flight within the conditions. The area along the coast offers a lot of potential due to the low risk on the ground and favourable location. We hope for a speedy continuation of the amendment procedure.”

The Zuid Holland province will first undertake the airspace and flight operations change procedure, which sets out the steps to be taken before the national government can determine the change to the airspace. 

The actual size of the area is determined on the basis of a needs assessment among companies in Unmanned Valley and airspace users. In addition, an airspace safety analysis is taking place. Zuid Holland said on April 18 that it intends to initiate this process as quickly as possible.

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