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Drones: both an opportunity and a threat

The increasing number of drones and their many uses offer many opportunities. At the same time, they create growing challenges for the aviation industry in terms of safety, capacity and airspace monitoring.

Drones are booming: their use is growing rapidly and will continue to do so in the next few years. The partner companies affected at Zurich Airport are therefore conducting regular joint risk analyses and developing measures to solve the new challenges together or to request the necessary regulatory amendments from the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA). The partners involved – besides Flughafen Zürich AG – include Swiss International Airlines, the air traffic control provider Skyguide and Zurich cantonal police (airport police). 


Caution with drones near the airport

Without the appropriate exceptional permit it is basically forbidden to fly drones at Zurich Airport as they are a considerable risk to other airspace users. There is also a 5-kilometre wide no-fly zone for drones around the airport. The current regulation can be viewed on the website of the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (see link at right). It is also a top priority that air traffic control will be able to integrate all drone operations safely into the airspace in future. Zurich cantonal police is solely responsible for rendering harmless any non-registered or uncooperative drones around the airport if needed. Drone pilots are expected to be familiar with and adhere to the relevant rules. Breaches may constitute a dangerous intervention in air traffic and could be prosecuted in serious cases.