Skyguide unveils digital and automated authorization system for UAS and special flights


Skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, and AirMap, the leading airspace and automation company serving the drone economy, today unveiled a streamlined digital authorization system for expedited approval of UAS and other special flights in controlled airspace.

In Switzerland, flights by UAS, gliders, parachutes, hot air balloons, and other non-commercial aircraft within airspace classes C and D are subject to approval from skyguide and the airport authority, as they can be dangerous to other airspace users. As drone flights increase in volume and complexity, airspace authorities face a backlog in coordinating and processing all special flights requests, which can take over a week to complete.

Together, skyguide and AirMap implemented a flexible and intelligent digital authorization workflow solution that streamlines, digitizes, and automates airspace authorization requests for drones and other special flights. The solution alleviates administrative burden and makes it quicker, easier, and safer for UAS and other special flights to access controlled airspace.

The AirMap UTM Center enables Swiss air traffic managers to receive notifications when a special airspace use application is submitted; view data regarding the proposed operation’s geography, timing, and proposed route; and view any airspace rules, regulations, and appropriate sectional maps. UAS operators can submit online requests for authorization to fly in controlled airspace with easy-to-use web applications and receive a decision in less than three days.

This new digital authorization service will be available throughout Switzerland later this year. The announcement comes a year after skyguide and AirMap trialed a fully automated authorization capability for UAS flights at Geneva and Lugano Airports.

“UAS and other special flight operators no longer have to wait ten days to fly in controlled airspace,” said Robert Fraefel, U-space project lead at skyguide. “Digitizing our authorization process enables skyguide to deliver safe and efficient access to airspace, makes it easier and faster for operators to apply for permission to fly in controlled airspace, and removes the burden from our special flights office.”

“Digitizing the authorization process is an important step in enabling drone operations at scale and opening up access to airspace,” added Boris Lacroix, AirMap’s Senior Vice President of Product Management. “This major milestone demonstrates skyguide and AirMap’s commitment to pioneering real-world U-space services and access requests for Switzerland and beyond.”