null Amendments to Aviation Act supplement EU regulation

Amendments to Aviation Act supplement EU regulation

Press release 09.04.2020 09.30 fi sv en

Father and a son flying a drone (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Government proposes amendments to the Aviation Act that would supplement the revised EU regulation. The amendments are based on the EU Regulation on common rules in the field of civil aviation and establishing of a European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the so-called EASA Regulation.

The EASA Regulation and EU statutes issued under it are directly applicable in EU Member States. However, some degree of national flexibility will be allowed in matters such as light aviation and unmanned aviation, like drones.

Provisions on light aircraft, including ultralight aircraft, arealready now laid down in national legislation and not at the EU level.The Government proposes that in Finland light aircraft within the scope of the national legislation would in future mainly include those with no more than two seats and a maximum permissible take-off weight of 600 kg.

National flexibility in age limits and insurance obligation for unmanned aircraft

Minimum age for remote pilots of unmanned aircraft is a new requirement arising from EU legislation. However, EU regulation allows national flexibility in terms of the age limits.

The Government proposes that the allowed flexibility would be used almost to the full. The minimum age would be 12 years for low-risk drone operations, when remote pilots fly drones within their visual line of sight. When risks are higher, for example because of no visual line of sight, the age limit would be 15 years. With the highest risk, it would be 18 years. In these cases, the EU legislation allows no flexibility.

Amendments are also proposed to the obligation to maintain in force a liability insurance. According to EU legislation, all unmanned aircraft over 20 kg must be insured. With regard to lighter unmanned aircraft, decisions on the obligation to take out a liability insurance can be made nationally. The Government proposes that the liability insurance obligation apply also to aircraft, excluding low-risk activities.The insurance should be a standard liability insurance for damages.

It is also proposed that in future the Transport and Communications Agency could establish airspace zones to facilitate or restrict the use of unmanned aircraft. The Agency would also be responsible for market surveillance of unmanned aircraft.

The Government proposal has addressed the feedback received from the consultation round. Issues specified in the proposals include the insurance obligation and liability for damages in unmanned aviation and airspace zones facilitating or restricting the use of unmanned aircraft. The preparation was carried out in close consultation with interest groups.

What are the next steps?

The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament to amend the Aviation Act on 8 April 2020.

A preliminary debate will be held on the proposal in a plenary session. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament’s website (upcoming plenary sessions). After the referral debate, the proposal will be sent to a committee. Once the committee’s report is ready, the matter will be again discussed in a plenary session.

The legislative amendments are meant to enter into force on 1 July 2020.

Inquiries:

Elina Immonen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 34 2126, Twitter: @ImmonenElina

Laura Kolinen, Coordinator, tel. +358 295 34 2023

Veikko Vauhkonen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 342 113, Twitter @VVauhk