Willis Towers Watson launches drone safety at airports initiative

Willis Towers Watson has launched an initiative to address drone risk at airports. A new guide, ‘Drone disruption at airports: A risk mitigation and insurance response’ outlines the threat to airports by drones which are increasingly being used with malicious intent to cause disruption -- with an increase from 35 reported incidents between 2013-2015 to nearly 290 from 2016-2018 in the UK alone.

In addition to the guide, Willis’ Airport Risk Community (ARC) brings airport operators together in a spirit of collaboration to debate the breadth of risks facing the industry.

Karen Larbey, director of strategy and planning, transportation industry, Willis Towers Watson, said: “Our Airport Risk Community is very concerned about the growing use of drone technology to disrupt and interfere with airport safety. As we have seen with the recent events in Gatwick and Singapore, and the subsequent re-routing of flights, drone technology is increasingly sophisticated and causes extensive disturbance. It is therefore essential that we help our clients to understand what risk mitigation strategies to put in place to help airports handle the disruption caused by drones.”

Providing strategic risk mitigation strategies, the guidance highlights the importance of developing a single internal reporting point for drone sightings and early engagement with airline operators during initial drone sightings with emergency multi-agency drills being undertaken on a regular basis.

The guidance also highlights the importance of assessing, locating and understanding the type of drone that has infringed airspace, as well as reputational management. With drone related incidents at airports expected to increase in complexity and frequency, the guidance outlines the current insurance solutions available and the multi-stakeholder collaborative approach needed to develop new innovative solutions for the aviation community.

The next ARC meeting takes place in Rome in September.

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