Introduction

The use of unmanned aircraft or drones has increased exponentially in recent years. Drones were originally developed for military use, but the technology has developed rapidly so that private individuals can now use drones for leisure and recreational purposes. The rapid rise of drone use offers a wide range of possibilities and variety of new commercial services.

On the other hand, it has led to increasing disruptions to air traffic. In this context, a significant number of national aviation authorities have started establishing new aviation safety legislation to regulate the use of drones in their national airspace. This article examines the steps that the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) has taken in this context.

EU Basic Regulation

The EU Basic Regulation (1139/2018) was introduced on 11 September 2018 to tackle the fragmented regulatory framework regarding drones in EU member states and bring legal certainty and consistency across the European Union.

Under the regulation, the EU Commission has five years to implement rules and procedures for drones. In the meantime, each EU member state will continue to have full authority over the regulation of drones, provided that their national legislation complies with the EU Basic Regulation's general guidelines.

ENAC initiatives

ENAC was one of the first EU aviation authorities to develop national rules to regulate remote-piloted aircraft systems and it has taken a particularly active approach in the EU Basic Regulation's transitional phase. Pending the EU Basic Regulation's implementation, ENAC has announced the adoption of interim measures and a revision of the existing Italian regulations to align the national legal framework with the implementing acts that the EU Commission will introduce.

In that regard, on 1 February 2019, ENAC organised a workshop aimed at outlining the state of play and the next provisional measures to be taken at the national level pending the EU Basic Regulation's implementation. Further, on 18 March 2019 ENAC and European Aviation Safety Agency members attended the Rome Drone Conference to illustrate the key features of the EU Basic Regulation to Italian operators.

For further information on this topic please contact Laura Pierallini at Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati by telephone (+39 06 88 41 713) or email (l.pierallini@pierallini.it). The Studio Legale Pierallini e Associati website can be accessed at www.studiopierallini.it.

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