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October 02, 2015

A report by British newspaper The Times on September 28, 2015 states four planes flying close to major British airports have been involved in potentially fatal near-misses with drones in the last month. The incidents recorded in recent weeks took place close to the London's Heathrow, London City, and Birmingham airports. Two other incidents were reported in New Zealand and Germany. On September 25, an Air New Zealand flight reported a near miss with a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System flying in controlled airspace north of Christchurch (New Zealand). In Hamburg, Germany a Finnair flight from Finland's capital Helsinki reported a near miss with a drone as it was conducting its landing approach on September 20.

Analyst Comment: The recent incidents are likely to result in increased scrutiny over the sale and operation of drones, particularly those able to reach heights that might interfere with the operation of commercial aircraft. The fact that these incidents were reported in the vicinity of controlled airspace despite restrictions highlights the challenge law enforcement faces in countering this threat. One suggestion introduced to control drone activity includes real time tracking of all drones, which must be licensed by their user. This raises issues relating to privacy concerns and logistical challenges, in the event of a device being reported stolen. For additional information on drones - including current and future regulations - please refer to our recently published article: Drones: The Good, The Bad & The Unknown

Prepared by: Siddharth Ramana, India  

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