ENAIRE and Government of Navarre sign action protocol to promote aviation R&D


Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (Mitma), through ENAIRE, and the government of Navarre, through its Interior Department, have signed an action protocol to promote R&D in the field of aviation.

“Thanks to the protocol we have just signed, we are supporting what urban air mobility will become in our country”, said the Minister of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez.

The Minister stated that this protocol reflects a mutual commitment to the future development of Navarre and its pioneering position in the integration of automated drone operations into Spanish airspace.

The actions will involve the field of unmanned aerial vehicles, i.e., drones, and U-Space, which refers to the airspace set aside for the flights of these vehicles. This joint participation will result in activities focused on researching solutions and potentially developing procedures, tools and prototypes that promote the development of the future Urban Air Mobility (UAM) sector.

Starting in 2023, the protocol will make it possible to bolster joint initiatives that enable U-Space services in Spain. These services will advance UAM in
Spain such that, from 2025, the use of unmanned aircraft to transport people and goods will become a reality.

The Government of Spain promotes R&D

The Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, through ENAIRE, has a special interest in promoting and supporting scientific and technological research and development and, in accordance with its 2025 Strategic Flight Plan, in developing new digital technologies that make it possible to modernise and improve the efficiency of air navigation services and, in particular, to develop U-Space services in Spain. These services are essential for integrating automated drone operations into Spanish airspace, as well as the specific operations involving UAM, the advanced services with drones to transport people and goods, which is scheduled to be deployed starting in 2025.

ENAIRE’s functions include the provision of en route and approach air traffic control services, as well as of air control services within Aena’s network of airports.
At the same time, ENAIRE is also assuming new challenges involving the oversight of automated operations that demand new technologies, infrastructures and concepts; specifically, those pertaining to advanced drone operations and UAM. This undertaking will be quite a challenge in terms of ensuring simultaneous drone operations in densely populated environments alongside manned aircraft, and will require advanced and environmentally friendly aircraft, as well as robust and reliable air traffic management systems, such as U-Space.

To this end, ENAIRE, in coordination with the Civil Aviation General Directorate and the National Aviation Safety Agency (Aesa), is working hard to develop and provide domestic U-Space Common Information Services, the basic infrastructure that will allow different operators to safely carry out, alongside manned aircraft and in a way that is environmentally friendly, the digitised and automated management of U-Space drone operations, and with it, a variety of new commercial and public services, such as hospital emergencies or environmental surveillance, which will contribute to the well-being of our society.

Promotion of R&D in the field of aviation in Navarre

The Regional Executive, through its Interior Department, is interested in promoting and supporting the scientific research and development of new digital technologies linked to air navigation services and the use of airspace, as well as in facilitating the integration of autonomous vehicles and new operations.

Since 2019, it has been collaborating with other public agencies (public works, environment, Tracasa), with the Public University of Navarre (UPNA), technology centres (Naitec) and various private companies in Navarre (Fuvex Aeródromo de Lumbier, ATR and others) that use, research, develop and produce new technologies, helping them to promote and implement these technologies, and receiving their advice.

An example of this is also the aforementioned U-Space Navarra project, a public-private work team led by Navarre’s Interior Department, in cooperation with UPNA, Naitec, Fuvex, Naturgy and Sistemas de Navarra, which seeks to share resources and knowledge from different parts of the sector in order to develop drone testing and innovation scenarios intended to ensure public safety.

U-Space logistics allows for coordinated and simultaneous emergency drone flights with drones engaged in professional applications. In late August, the Government of Navarre presented this project at the Naitec-Aeródromo de Lumbier drone testing centre, recognised by EUROCONTROL as one of the seven test centres in Spain in this field.

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