BALPA response to Government announcement on drones
BALPA is pleased the concerns of pilots about the risks of collisions with drones are being heeded at last.
We very much welcome the Government’s promise to introduce a drone registration and regulation package together with greater police powers.
BALPA has also called for no-fly zones and geofencing around airports to be considered and these too are now very much on the agenda.
These are all good steps and we will work with Government to ensure the details are right and they are delivered quickly to maintain safety in the sky.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said:
“I very much welcome the Government’s firm commitments in this announcement.
“BALPA recognised the potential of drone technology long ago. But it soon became clear that without the right rules and regulations in place to enable them to share airspace safely, these devices could pose a huge threat to commercial aircraft.
“This is evidenced by the sharp rise in reported near misses with drones last year, up from 29 to 71. And we have exceeded that already this year with the UK Airprox Board already noting 81 reported near misses in 2017 so far.
“These proposals are a step towards the safe integration of drones, but until the new rules are in place the threat of a serious collision remains.
“It would be a tragedy if such an incident were to occur and lives were lost while we await these measures.
“That’s why BALPA continues to push for this programme of legislation to be adopted quickly; pilots would prefer to see it implemented in 2018 rather than at a later date.”