AIR TRAFFIC TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL 2020 25.
Drones can occupy the same lowaltitude
airspace as manned
aviation, particularly when flown
close to airports - where aircraft take off and
land - and in urban areas with dense
In recognition of this, there is now a
pressing need for unmanned traffic
management (UTM) and Air Traffic Control
(ATC) systems that eliminate any potential
conflict between drones and manned
aviation. So, what actions need to be taken to
integrate, manage and control drones in the
national airspace? In what ways do radar and
ATC systems need to change to incorporate
drones and combat rogue devices?
Recent drone incursions at airports, such as
those that occurred at London’s Gatwick and
Heathrow Airports, and New York’s Newark
Airport, have led to significant disruption.
The incidents caused hundreds of cancelled
and delayed flights and affected thousands of
passengers the commercial aviation industry
is keen to avoid.
If a drone is sighted near an airport and
cannot be identified, manned aircraft flights
have to be suspended because the planned
flight path of the drone and the drone
operator’s intentions are unknown. Ben
Marcus, co-founder and chairman of the
drone digital infrastructure and standards
company AirMap, says, “Most drone
operations are safe and lawful. However,
measures must be taken to ensure that all
drone traffic is safely managed through
comprehensive UTM Unmanned Traffic
Management systems,” he says.
According to Marcus, two practical
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