Through its SYSRED H24 units and the Airspace Operational Coordination Department, ENAIRE is coordinating more than 30 drone operations carried out by law enforcement agencies and related to the state of emergency that was decreed due to COVID-19. During the period between 14 March and 15 April, most unmanned aircraft flights were conducted as part of activities to monitor and enforce lockdown measures.
RPAS operations are taking place in municipalities throughout Spain in collaboration with Aena, the Air Staff, the Military Emergencies Unit, the National Police, the Civil Guard, the regional police forces of Catalonia, the Basque Country and Navarre, local police and civil protection organisations.
Increase in drone operations in risky situations
Since the state of emergency was activated, ENAIRE has registered morethan 40 requests for unmanned aircraft flights under Article 44 of RoyalDecree 1036/2017, which regulates the use of drones in situations of seriousrisk, catastrophe or public disaster. These drone operations are being conducted to deal with emergencies such as: the landslide at the Zaldívar landfill in Bizkaia, at the request of theBasque police; firefighting activities and the search for missing persons, such as the operation coordinated with the fire brigades of the Zaragoza Council; as well as the aforementioned patrol and surveillance activities to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Highlighting that although COVID-19 is a priority for all in today’s world, the regular operations of emergency services must still be conducted.
Just to highlight some of these activities at the regional level, some of the operations coordinated by ENAIRE and its SYSRED H24 and Airspace Operational Coordination departments are highlighted below:
- Basque Country: assist emergency and security services
- Navarre Regional Police: coordinating specialised operations flights in the controlled traffic regions
- Madrid: coordinated operations between ENAIRE’s Control Centre in Madrid and the Municipal Police of Madrid and the Local Police of Rivas-Vaciamadrid to patrol both municipalities
- Catalonia: flights by the regional police and, in the municipalities of Badalona and its municipal police, and in Castelldefels and its local police, coordinated with ENAIRE’s Control Centre and the control tower in Barcelona
- Canary Islands: the municipalities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Telde, Teror, Valleseco, Ingenio and Arona also have air surveillance operations coordinated with ENAIRE’s Control Centre and tower in Gran Canaria
- Valencia: coordinated operations with local police in Valencia and the Valencia Safety and Emergency Response Agency (AVSRE) and ENAIRE’s Terminal Area Control Centre in Valencia
- Andalusia: RPAS flights coordinated with ENAIRE’s Control Centre in Seville and the local police forces of San Bartolomé de la Torre and Puebla de Guzmán, in Huelva
- Balearic Islands: RPAS operations conducted by the Santa Eularia des Riu Municipal Police in Ibiza, coordinated with ENAIRE’s Control Centre in Palma.
This list shows the level of work to be done beyond traditional ATC activities in the fight against COVID-19. Drones are becoming a valuable tool for use by these organisations to carry out their duties in a professional and efficient manner and maintain the safety of their team members during these challenging times.