null Report on the Low Flight Network in progress - interim report to be sent out for statements

Report on the Low Flight Network in progress - interim report to be sent out for statements

Press release 25.03.2021 11.50 fi sv en

Various options for setting up a low flight network are currently being assessed. A low flight network refers to a network that utilises satellite positioning, which would make it possible to also fly in poor weather conditions. The Ministry of Transport and Communications will request statements on the interim report concerning the network by 23 April 2021.

When weather conditions and visibility are poor, it would be possible for an aircraft to descend to a certain altitude below the clouds by means of instruments for example in uncontrolled flight areas and over hospitals. After this the aircraft would then proceed to its destination at a low altitude in a direct visual contact. This would improve operating conditions, especially in situations where flights cannot currently be made due to poor weather conditions. The network would help for example speed up access of emergency services and emergency medical services to or near sites where they are needed.

The aim of the project, which started in June 2020, is to define the concept of a low flight network and its users. In addition, the project assesses impacts on safety and compares funding models.

The interim report presents, among other things, different implementation options and network costs. As far as the implementation of the network is concerned, options considered have included that it be designed only for use by the authorities, partly open to other users in addition to the use of the authorities or fully open to different user groups. The alternative is to design the network exclusively for helicopters or for both helicopters and aeroplanes. The premise for the network’s navigation to be based exclusively on the use of the satellite-based GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) system, thus not requiring navigation equipment on the ground.

A steering group has been set up to prepare the report on the low flight network. It includes representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Defence, the Finnish Air Force, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency, the Finnish Army, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Finnish Border Guard, Fintraffic Lennonvarmistus Oy and FinnHEMS Oy. The research for the report is being carried out by a working group led by Fintraffic Lennonvarmistus Oy.

What next?

Opinions will be requested by 23 April 2021. The request for opinions has been published on the Government’s project website. Opinions may be submitted by all organisations and citizens by email to kirjaamo@lvm.fi and suvi.kankare@lvm.fi.

On the basis of the feedback contained in the opinions, the steering group will outline the implementation option the working group will focus on. The final report will include a recommendation on what type of low flight network could be established in Finland. The report will be published in summer 2021.

Inquiries:

Suvi Kankare, Senior Officer, tel. +358 295 34 2105, suvi.kankare(at)lvm.fi