Concerned about safety due to a rise in near collisions by unmanned aerial vehicles and airplanes, the world's airlines are backing the establishment of a UN-led global registry for drones, said an executive at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline trade association.
According to a Reuters report, IATA supports the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) efforts to develop such a registry, which could also help track incidents involving drones and jets, its director of air traffic management infrastructure Rob Eagles said on the sidelines of IATA’s Safety and Flight Ops Conference in Montreal. The association would also consider collaboration with ICAO to use the registry for data analysis to improve safety.
IATA would consider collaborating with ICAO to use the registry for data analysis to improve safety. The registry is part of ICAO’s broader efforts in standardising rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
As drones are being used more for both corporate and leisure purposes, the aviation industry is looking to drone registries, geo-fencing technology (virtual perimeters for real-world boundaries that would send alerts if breached) and stiffer penalties for operating drones near airports, noted Reuters.
Currently, there exists a manned aircraft registry, which is operated by Aviareto, a joint venture between Switzerland-based aviation technology group SITA and the Irish government. Reuters reported that ICAO’s intention is to merge unmanned aircraft activity into the registry for manned aircraft.
A single registry would serve as a one-stop shop that would allow for identification and tracking of drones, together with their operators and owners. In Britain, the number of near misses between drones and aircraft more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, with 92 incidents recorded last year, according to the U.K. Airprox Board.