ENAIRE manages more than 1,000 drone operations in airspace
ENAIRE, the Spanish airspace navigation manager, has managed more than 1,000 drone operations since the entry into force of Royal Decree 1036/2017, of 15 December, regulating the civil use of remotely piloted aircraft (also known as RPAS or drones).
Flights in controlled airspace are increasing significantly compared to 2018
ENAIRE managed 255 drone flights in 2019, of which 192 took place in uncontrolled airspace, while the rest (63) were conducted in controlled airspace.
Flights in controlled airspace are increasing significantly compared to 2018, the year in which such flights gained authorisation to be operated in airspace, and in which ENAIRE managed 23 operations in controlled airspace.
So far this year, the regions with the largest number of drone operations managed – in this order – are Catalonia and Madrid, with more than thirty flights each; Extremadura and Andalusia, with more than 20 flights respectively, and the Canary Islands, Navarre, Galicia, the Basque Country, Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha, with more than ten flights each.
Collaboration with institutions
ENAIRE constantly collaborates with institutions, companies and individual drone pilots in the management of these flights. The collaboration work with the Spanish security forces and bodies is most notable in this regard: the Municipal Police of Madrid, Ertzaintza (Basque Police Force) and Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Police Force). This comes in addition to work with regional emergency bodies, such as the AVSRE (Valencia Emergency Response and Security Agency).
ENAIRE works to ensure the safe coexistence of all aircraft in airspace. To do so, coordinating drone operations is crucial, with varying procedures according to the type of airspace.
Flying a drone in airspace controlled by ENAIRE requires a prior aeronautical safety study to analyse and mitigate potential risks for all types of operations (the recommended methodology is called SORA). To coordinate these safety studies, drone operators must contact ENAIRE's Safety Division to enable the operator to request authorisation from the Spanish State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA), after this study has been analysed. Once authorisation has been obtained, they must contact ENAIRE's Operational Airspace Coordination Department to coordinate the operation (firstname.lastname@example.org).
On the day of the drone flight, the aeronautical alerts (NOTAM) in force must be checked and a flight plan must be drawn up using ICARO XXI. All the steps to take are available on ENAIRE's website (How to fly drones in ENAIRE controlled airspace).
ENAIRE also provides drone pilots and operators with a specific website and the app drones.enaire.es, with aeronautical data and information to identify potential restrictions to flying drones in a given airspace in accordance with current legislation. This web application provides the operators of these aircraft help to plan the flight and read notifications and alerts before flying a drone.
ENAIRE is the company belonging to the Public Works Department that provides air navigation services in Spain. It renders aerodrome control services at 21 airports, including the busiest in terms of air traffic, plus en-route and approach control, from five control centres: Barcelona, Madrid, Gran Canaria, Palma and Seville. In addition, ENAIRE provides communications, navigation and surveillance services to 45 air control towers.
In 2018 ENAIRE handled 2.1 million flights to and from four continents (Europe, America, Asia and Africa), transporting 300 million passengers.
ENAIRE is the fourth most important European air navigation service provider, and, in a clear commitment to the Single Sky initiative, belongs to international partnerships such as SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) Joint Undertaking, SESAR Deployment Manager, A6, iTEC, CANSO (Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation) and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization).