Concerned by a rise in near misses by unmanned aircraft and commercial jets, the world’s airlines back development of a U.N.-led global registry for drones, an executive of their trade group said Tuesday.
The International Air Transport Association backs efforts by the U.N. aviation agency to develop such a registry, which could also help track the number of incidents involving drones and jets, said Rob Eagles, IATA’s director of air traffic management infrastructure.
IATA would consider collaborating with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with using the registry for data analysis to improve safety.
ICAO is developing the registry as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
“One of the important things we would like to see on a registry as well is the compilation of data which would include incident and accident reporting,” Eagles said in an interview on the sidelines of IATA’s Safety and Flight Ops Conference in Montreal.
Airlines and airport operators are looking to drone registries, geo-fencing technology and stiffer penalties for operating drones near airports. They hope these steps will ensure flying remains safe as hobbyists and companies like
Amazon.com use more drones.
More close calls
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.
Air New Zealand said last month that a flight from Tokyo with 278 passengers and crew on board encountered a drone estimated to be just 5 meters away from the Boeing 777-200 jet during its descent into Auckland.
A single registry would create a one-stop shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operators and owners.
It’s not yet clear what kind of drones would be listed in the registry, although IATA would support inclusion of most drones, including large unmanned aircraft and smaller ones used for commercial and industrial purposes, Eagles said.
“The intention at present is to merge this activity into the ICAO registry for manned aircraft, so that the sector has a single consolidated registry network,” ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said by email.