European drone regulations adopted by Switzerland
The joint committee of the bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the European Union on air transport decided on November 24, 2022, that Switzerland should follow European drone regulations and other EU laws.
Drone pilots will be subject to new laws beginning January 1, 2023. The Swiss drone sector benefits from a regulatory environment that is aligned with the EU. The Federal Council has adopted the new provisions.
Switzerland and the European Union (EU) manage the globally oriented aviation industry consistently and via a mixed committee as part of the bilateral aviation accord.
From January 1, 2023, the Joint Aviation Committee has resolved to apply the legislative framework for unmanned aircraft (drones, model airplanes, and unmanned aircraft of other types) that is already in place in the EU in Switzerland.
European rules provide safety criteria for the design, approval, and operation of drones. Depending on the operational risk, three categories are now used: “open,” “special,” and “subject to approval.”
All long-distance pilots who wish to fly a drone in the open category must be able to produce proof of a certificate gained via training and a final assessment. The enacted law calls for the reciprocal recognition of the certificates in the EU and Switzerland.
There are new maximum flying altitudes, weight limitations, and area restrictions in effect. Regulations in the areas of environmental protection, privacy protection, and security have been implemented in response to public concerns.
Switzerland will likewise follow the European Union's “U-Space” regulations. This is a collection of digital and automated services and procedures employed in a certain airspace.
With U-Space, the rising number of civilian drone flight movements should be securely incorporated into the airspace, ensuring conflict-free cohabitation of manned and unmanned aircraft systems. The pilots now have a more complete picture of the traffic situation.
The Joint Committee also revised a number of existing provisions. In the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to Airport slot regulation clarify airlines' access to slots in the next flight schedule period.
Existing criteria are updated for fuel planning to allow for new fuel or energy sources. Furthermore, administrative simplifications enable many airlines from the same group of firms to apply for a license to do airplane maintenance work collectively (CAMO).
Christian Hegner, Director of the Federal Office for Civilian Aviation (FOCA), signed the Joint Aviation Committee decision for Switzerland. At its meeting on November 9, 2022, the Federal Council authorized the implementation of these measures.
The agreement's new clauses will take effect on January 1, 2023.
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