Monday 03 August 2020
Guernsey Ports, supported by the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation (Channel Islands) (the DCA), has launched a new campaign to alert users of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, of the locations where they can be safely flown within the Bailiwick without conflicting with airport or maritime operations.
Guernsey Ports has detected an increase in the number of unauthorised drone deployments in restricted areas without prior permission during recent months.
Chief Operations Officer - Ports Ross Coppolo said:
"We are concerned by the increase in the number of drone sightings particularly in locations where prior permission from Guernsey Ports is required in order to minimize the risk to airport and maritime operations. During lockdown, Guernsey Airport recorded and were advised of a number of drone sightings some of which were published on social media platforms.
We understand drone photography and video can offer spectacular footage of the Bailiwick but we would ask that drone operators familiarize themselves with the areas within the Bailiwick where prior permission is required from Guernsey Air Traffic Control, Guernsey Harbours or the DCA. We would ask that where any potential drone operator is unsure as to whether they can fly their drone in a certain location, they consult with the new guidance or contact Guernsey Ports or the DCA directly to check in advance."
The DCA licences aerodromes and has overall responsibility for ensuring the safety of civil aviation in airspace across the Channel Islands and regulates the safety of aerodromes, air traffic and air transport services.
The Director of Civil Aviation for the Channel Islands, Dominic Lazarus said:
"Operating UAS or drones needs to be carried out in a safe and responsible manner that does not interfere with air traffic or maritime vessel movements. I am concerned about a number of unauthorised flights that have taken place and sightings published on social media platforms. The DCA is concerned about the detected unauthorised flying of UAS devices or drones near, or on the flight path of, departing aircraft, especially since late March 2020 when COVID-19 lockdown started. This is a worrying development, as an aircraft encountering a drone during take-off, a flight, or landing could result in dangerous consequences. The DCA is supporting Guernsey Ports' campaign highlighting correct and compliant drone or UAS use and when operators should engage with the DCA and Guernsey Ports before such flights take place."
Guernsey-based commercial drone operator, Elliot Cockett said:
"Using a UAS or drone needs to be carried out safe and controlled environment and manner. It is vital that background research is carried out beforehand on flying locations. It is crucial that liaison with Guernsey Air Traffic Control, Guernsey Harbours and notifying the DCA when applicable, is compiled with all Bailiwick UAS operators. This process ensures drone flying can be carried out in a safe and responsible manner as possible without compromising on safety."
In other parts of Guernsey, particularly land administered by the Vale Commons Council, the use of UAS and model aircraft are prohibited by laws that are applicable for the area.