With the holiday season upon us, experts are predicting drones will again be a favorite gift and the American Alliance of Airport Police Officers (AAAPO) reiterates its calls for airports to have access to proactive counter-drone technology to ensure the safety of airports and surrounding airspace.
The growth in sales of both commercial and recreational drones, coupled with the current unsettled global climate, creates a unique and opportune environment for those who seek to disrupt air travel and/or impose severe harm to America. Language supporting counter-drone technology at critical infrastructure is included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which just passed Congress and heads to the President for his signature. The AAAPO hopes similar language will be included in any future FAA Reauthorization bill to ensure that airports and their surrounding airspace have the capability to prevent intentional and unintentional drone incursions.
Given the numerous drone sightings and near misses at and around airports, particularly at LAX, which has been ground-zero for sightings, it is fortunate that something more serious has not yet happened. Given the confluence of more drones in our skies, and more planes and travelers in the air, we must take more seriously the increasing interference drones are having with airplanes and airports. Thus, airports must be prepared to protect their airspace with technology that can identify a drone, as well as its ground-controller, so that we can protect the traveling public. We commend Congress for including this important language in the bill and we encourage similar strong language focused on airports.
“We have seen it numerous times at LAX and around the country—near misses between drones and planes—and the time is now, for airports to be able to implement capabilities that will prevent drones from entering our airspace,” said Marshall McClain, President of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, and co-founder of the AAAPO. “Drones are unlocking new and fascinating capabilities for all facets of our economy, however, they pose a serious and challenging threat to our airports that can and must be resolved immediately.”