Drone (Regulation) Wars: U.S. And E.U. Face Off

Andrew Charlton

The U.K. and America, Churchill once noted, were two countries divided by a common language. The same might be said of the relations between Europe more generally and the United States when it comes to aviation safety. We all speak the same language, but sometimes the FAA and EASA – the Europe Union’s common aviation safety organisation – move in different ways.

In part that is inevitable given the multinational makeup of EASA. It is the EU’s peak aviation safety organisation, but it does not replace the civil aviation authorities of its member states.

Nevertheless, slowly, its remit grows. Take drones as an example. Before the rapid uptake of drones a few years ago, EASA’s jurisdiction started at aircraft weighing more than 150 kilograms (330 pounds). Now, EASA has expanded its range to all aircraft. It is also now looking at airport and aerodrome issues. Over time, there will be a one-to-one overlap with the FAA’s role.

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