Under a new regulation due to come into force in coming weeks, the mandate of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will widen to include drones and urban air mobility.

The new Basic Regulation formalizes EASA’s role in the domain of drones (referred to as ‘unmanned vehicles’ in the Basic Regulation text) and urban air mobility, enabling EASA to prepare rules for all sizes of civil drones and harmonize standards for the commercial market across Europe, the agency said.

It also enlarges EASA’s role in areas such as environmental protection, research and development and international cooperation as well as giving EASA a coordinating role in cybersecurity in aviation.

“This new mandate consolidates EASA’s scope to cover the full spectrum of the aviation landscape and reinforces the European aviation system as a whole, with the possibility for EASA and European Member States to work closer together in a flexible way,” EASA said.

“In a sector facing unprecedented technological transformation, it was important to provide EASA with the proper tools and legal foundation to support the development of the aviation industry in particular in domains like drones and digitalization,” EASE executive director Patrick Ky said. “At the same time we need to preserve the European society aspirations for a safer and environmentally friendly world.”

The regulation will be published in the EU Official Journal by the end of July and will enter into force at the end of the summer break, EASA said.

Helen Massy-Beresford, helen.massy-beresford@aviationweek.co.uk