Swiss government gives green light to FOCA to designate U-space areas

At its meeting on 14 June, Switzerland’s Federal Council approved the revised ordinances designed to implement the European U-space regulatory package, which Switzerland adopted on 24 November 2022.

The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) will now be able to designate specific U-space areas in which certified U-space service providers (USSPs) will provide digital and highly automated services to drone operators. This development ensures that complex drone operations can be managed efficiently, and so creates significant benefits for drone operators.

According to a Federal Council press statement:

“The services provided also facilitate operational planning and provide the operator with a real-time overview of air traffic and of the environment in which the drone is flying, thereby helping to improve safety. Complex operations and beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in particular will benefit from these new airspaces.

“The number and complexity of civilian drone operations have increased significantly in recent years. This has led to a pressing need to regulate and improve the integration of drones into airspace in order to ensure a high level of safety.

“For some years now, the FOCA has been preparing and putting in place the elements necessary to designate the first U-space in Swiss airspace. It has revised the Ordinance on the Air Navigation Service (ANSO) and the Ordinance on Fees charged by the FOCA (FeeO-FOCA), adopted by the Federal Council, as well as the Ordinance on Special Category Aircraft (OSCA), which falls within the responsibility of the DETEC. These changes are designed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of U-space stakeholders in Swiss legislation. They will come into force on 1 August 2024.”

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(Image: Shutterstock-Old Town Zurich)

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