Home / Our Analyses / European Commission, commercial operators grappling to regulate low-flying drones as recreational users multiply

European Commission, commercial operators grappling to regulate low-flying drones as recreational users multiply

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, BRUSSELS – Around 10,000 international flights a day pass through global skies, but the traffic high above our heads may soon be obscured by a dense swarm of buzzing drones. While manned aircraft numbers grow by 750 a year, the number of drones — formally known as remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) — mushrooms by 150,000 a year, with over four million already in the sky.

In this increasingly clouded airspace, close-calls and even collisions between manned and unmanned craft may be inevitable. In 2015, airline pilots reported…

This content is for members only.
Log In Create an account

Check Also

EU leaders’ decisions augur big developments for European defence policy, with wider implications for other sectors as well

By PATRICK STEPHENSON and BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – After decades of procrastination, national leaders at their 22-23 June summit here took decisions that now set the stage for the EU’s entry into the defence field, though any talk of an imminent “European” army is fantasy. Nonetheless, important policy proposals by the European Commission were approved. The member states themselves finally agreed to finance their diverse battlegroups to boost the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP), for example, while approving plans – far more radical – to allow self-selected EU countries to shift into “permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO) in defence. But these were just some of the approved measures. An interesting coda to these decisions will be their impact on the EU’s...