The Global UTM Association (GUTMA) brought together regulators, key institutions, and European industry leaders to discuss the matter at the occasion of its European U-Space Policy Summit on 15 March 2022, at a unique and decisive moment in Europe for the drone services ecosystem. The imminent coming into effect of the U-Space regulation in January 2023 built a unique momentum for participants to discuss and contribute to the development of the Uncrewed Traffic Management System in Europe.

The event “From Rules to Market: Can we achieve a competitive UTM services market?”, part of the Harmonized Skies 2022 series, opened a dialogue with EU regulators and built insightful key points to lay the foundations for the path towards a competitive UTM services market that will lead to innovation, societal and economic growth. It hosted topical issues surrounding the drone service ecosystem and tackled regulatory topics, focusing on establishing a fair and competitive U-Space services market alongside GUTMA members, including Anra Technologies, Droniq, FOCA, HHLA Sky, Manna, One Sky, TEOCO and Wing, as well as institutions such as the European Commission, EASA and Eurocontrol.

European Commission Director-General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei stressed the importance of promoting a thriving drone services ecosystem greening and digitising the economy. In this regard, GUTMA’s position paper “The future of aviation has arrived - The next steps to build the drone service ecosystem” provides the basis for a thriving drone services ecosystem in Europe aiming at competitiveness, innovation and growth.

GUTMA vouches for U-Space to be the sole enabler of regulated and efficient drone operations and services in Europe. The importance of U-Space lies in its status as an advanced regulatory baseline in the drone ecosystem: the build-up of expertise in the provision of drone services within the U-Space will spill over to third markets, creating added value for European companies or foreign companies established in the European market.

“While UTM systems are developing around the world, the application date of the U-Space regulation in January 2023 creates special momentum in Europe. We aim to contribute to this momentum and leverage the key takeaways that should become a great source of inspiration for other regions”, stated Koen De Vos, GUTMA Secretary- General and former senior drone expert at the European Commission. “This is also what our latest position paper reflects.”

Fair competition is crucial for a successful deployment of U-Space services. Increased competition within the sector will lead to constant innovation and more affordable drone services for citizens and companies. GUTMA claims drones can help society achieve a sustainable future, and dialogue with interested stakeholders, local authorities, and civil society on the social effects of this revolution remain a priority. The association brings together stakeholders from across the drone and UTM sector, whose collaboration is crucial for a fair and harmonised ecosystem.

With the dialogue driven by GUTMA through the European U-Space Policy Summit, Europe is a step forward in promoting a thriving ecosystem of drone services in a coherent and encompassing manner. The second event of the Harmonized Skies series will combine GUTMA’s General Assembly in Asia in Q2 2022.