The European Commission delayed the applicability date of the European Union Unmanned Aircraft Systems Implementing Regulation 2019/947 (EU UAS IR 2019/947) until 31 December 2020.
Measures introduced to contain the COVID-19 pandemic severely hamper the ability of Member States and the aviation industry to prepare for the application of a number of recently adopted Implementing Regulations in the field of aviation safety.
Confinement and changes in the working conditions and availability of employees combined with the additional workload required to manage the significant negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for all stakeholders are impairing preparations for the application of these Implementing Regulations.
A delay in executing the different tasks required for the proper and timely implementation of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947, notably the establishment of registration systems that are digital and interoperable, as well as the adaptation of authorisations, declarations and certifications issued on the basis of national law, is inevitable as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The standardisation process and other related activities led by the industry and standardisation bodies, such as preparation of testing methodologies, or the testing of technical features, such as the remote identification, has been delayed. This in turn will have a negative impact on the capacity of manufacturers to put on the market unmanned aircraft systems (‘UAS’) meeting the new standardised requirements in accordance with Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945.
All UAS types should thus be allowed to continue to operate under the existing conditions for an additional 6 months. Therefore, the dates of application of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 should be postponed accordingly in order to allow UAS operators to be able to use UAS not complying with Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 for additional 6 months.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency confirmed to the Commission that postponing the application of the provisions referred to in recital 3 is possible without having a detrimental effect on aviation safety, since it will be for a very limited period, the air traffic is likely to resume slowly in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in less exposure to the risks, and national law will continue to apply in those Member States where UAS operations are permitted.
In order to provide an immediate relief for national authorities and all stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow them to adapt their planning to prepare for the postponed application of the provisions concerned, this Regulation should enter into force on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.