Proof of EU drone sector maturity: new lobbying muscle

EU drone lobby

If any proof was needed that Europe’s drone sector has matured to become a serious activity and business force, evidence of this was delivered this month with the birth of a giant lobbying body spanning the European Union and beyond.

Amid the events of the Cologne-hosted European Drone Forum came the official formation of the Joint European Drones Association (JEDA), a body representing the interests of all players in UAV activity – whether professional or private. The announcement was made in the presence of representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency, which over time is certain to regard the newly created lobby as both a partner and pest.

After all, the creation of such a large, all-enveloping body of drone sector participants is clearly aimed at speeding the approval and rollout of a vast range of UAV businesses and operations, and shaping the way rules and regulations pertaining to those are conceived.

Indeed, the organization describes itself as a “policy-oriented partnership of European drone-related associations established to promote the interests of the growing number of stakeholders engaged in the operation, production, research and development, service, and applications of all kinds of unmanned aircraft systems in Europe.”

It adds that the lobby “aims to represent the increased legislative and regulatory activity that affects everyone who flies a drone for personal and professional use, as well as to develop and maintain a common understanding of the seamless integration of UAS/RPAS into aviation and the European airspace system.”

European drone lobby reaching beyond the EU

JEDA founder members are national sector organizations from Albania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Switzerland, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Ireland, and Germany. 

While that means not all EU member states are represented on that initial roster – though latecomers are almost certain to adhere – it does include some non-EU participants. Both of those details suggest JEDA will probably attain even more muscle mass as it moves ahead, and lures new adherents from both the EU and European area beyond.

According to JEDA’s French member, Fédération Professionnelle du Drone Civil, the organization will present European organizations like the EASA and EuroControl with a single interlocutor regrouping the entire drone sector. That will include European UAV manufacturers, suppliers of business solutions, uncrewed traffic management service providers, operators, and training organizations.

In addition to externally seeking to influence the regulatory structure of EU UAV activity, JEDA will also work to create internal synergies between members, and encourage collective use of best practices as new rules and technologies are rolled out.

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