The European Commission recently adopted a set of measures to address the unique safety challenges of new emerging air mobility concepts and services and ensure that their operations will be as safe as those in manned aviation. The package targets two emerging areas in aviation: manned aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing (often referred to as manned VTOL or piloted air taxis, which are small commercial aircraft making short flights on demand), as well as higher-risk (so-called ‘specific category’) unmanned drone operations.  

The aim is to unify and streamline the regulatory landscape across Member States, improving oversight and operational safety standards. For instance, the measures will introduce new EU-wide airworthiness certification requirements and procedures for manned and unmanned VTOL, addressing both the physical integrity and the digital security risks that could impact their safe operation. They also include ‘air taxi’ pilot licence requirements, rules on integration into airspace (definition of flight paths, take-off and landing rules, and so forth), as well as specific rules enabling these aircraft to perform emergency medical services and rescue operations.

Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said: “With this regulatory framework, the EU reaffirms its position as a global leader in aviation safety and innovation. This initiative promises to unlock the full potential of innovative air mobility, setting new standards for urban transportation in the 21st century and beyond.”

The package is a key action under the  EU Drone Strategy 2.0, adopted in November 2022, aimed at fostering a smart and sustainable unmanned aircraft sector across Europe. It comes in addition to the ‘U-space Regulation‘ that became applicable in 2023. The implementation of the U-space regulation was discussed today at the event ‘U-space in Practice: From Lessons Learned to Future Challenges‘ organised by the Belgian Presidency of the Council.

Source: European Commission