Unmanned aircraft systems to be subjected to EU regulation

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 11.2.2016 13.19
News item

On 11 February 2016 the Finnish Government informed Parliament about a European Commission proposal for a regulation concerning civil aviation safety and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (so-called EASA regulation). The regulation provides a general legislative framework for civil aviation safety.

The Commission's objective is to maintain a high uniform level of civil aviation safety and to renew the related legislation so that it would better reflect the changes in the operating environment, such as the growing traffic volumes and technological development. The aim is to improve anticipatory risk management and proportionate regulation by introducing a risk and performance based approach to regulation.

The technological development has been especially rapid in unmanned aircraft systems. The principal aim of the proposal is to create a Union framework for unmanned aircraft systems and their use so that their commercial potential could be better utilised in the internal market. The proposal also pays attention to the safety of ground handling services and information security aspects of aircraft and aviation systems.

One objective of the proposal is closer cooperation between the Commission, EASA and the Member States as regards identification and mitigation of the risks affecting civil aviation. In preparing the Regulation the tasks and activities of EASA are meant to be reviewed in the light of the changes in the operating environment.

The Finnish Government supports the proposed objectives of updating regulation, maintaining a high level of safety in aviation, increasing competitiveness of the aviation sector, and promoting economic growth and internal market in the EU.

In order to make full use of the opportunities provided by unmanned aircraft systems, the Government considers it important that a risk and performance based approach be adopted in their regulation. Sparsely populated Finland, in comparison to densely populated Central Europe for example, is a favourable environment for experimenting and developing new kind of services based on unmanned aircraft systems. This development should be supported by legislation. The Government underlines that the competence proposed for the Commission to issue further regulations must not prevent the introduction of new innovations.

The European Commission submitted the proposal in December 2015 as part of its Aviation Strategy that aims to enhance the competitiveness of the EU aviation sector.