Annual investments in the drone industry reached a record high in 2020, over 90% of which were in the manufacture of electric flying taxis. Within the next five years, passenger-carrying piloted flying taxis are expected to start low-density operations across cities in the UK, at a rate that’s projected to exceed existing helicopter traffic.
Yesterday I gave evidence to the Science & Technology Select Committee in Parliament as part of its inquiry into commercial and recreational drone use. Some of my words were inappropriate. I got it wrong. I would like to apologise to any drone pilots, the vast majority of whom are extremely responsible, who have been offended by my remarks.
In tonight’s episode of Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport, you’ll have seen the impact the Gatwick drone incident had on the team of controllers at Heathrow, and the wider airport, but of course that was just part of the story.
Navigation at sea is very different to aviation – with the exception of a few very busy traffic management schemes such as those in the English Channel, ships are largely left to depend upon the training of the captain and self-separation. But on the issue of drones, there is absolute agreement – they are already here and are able to deliver substantial benefit to UK plc.
The growth of wind energy in the UK has posed a challenge for the aviation industry, but excellent progress has been made over the past year in finding solutions for both the en-route and airport environments.
Whilst there can be no doubt that the world has shrunk over the last century, does the world feel any smaller to the network operations of an airline and are we at risk of missing the opportunity for a big future?