Domingo Ureña, Chairman of CANARD Drones with decades of experience in the aviation & aerospace industry, analyses the impacts of the COVID-19 in the sector. Airports will need to reinvent themselves in order to face future challenges.
How would you assess the impact of the COVID-19 in the aeronautical sector worldwide?
Airports and air transport are essential elements in our lives and for the economy. This scenario is new for all of us and full of questions on how to face it. We need to take advantage of this crisis to reformulate how we will manage new rules, movements of people, security, and maintain a profitable operation in the long term. Also, this will compel us to rethink the relationship between the air transport industry and the government.
What impact do you consider this situation will have on the maintenance and management of airports?
For sure, it is going to take some time to recover the activity we had just a few months ago. Airports as soon as they resume their operations will need to maintain all their qualifications, i.e. same safety obligation in terms of traffic control and passengers. We can imagine, their challenge will be maintaining safety but without the volumes they had previously.
This will require them to rethink their business and look for new models allowing better cost base while offering the same level of services than before.
We are living proof that drones can be integrated into airport space. However, there is still a widespread reluctance of using drones in airport space, do you consider it well-founded?
We understand the main concern of aeronautical authorities is maximizing safety in the complete operation. That’s the reason why the authorities are so cautious to regulate drones in a critically regulated airspace and more specifically in the airports. On the other hand, technology proves more and more drones can embed safely in the routine airport operations and authorities are aware of. The authorities are working on the regulation. It’s a matter of time.
What advantages and/or disadvantages do you consider the use of drone-based solutions for NAVAID and airports inspections may bring to the customers?
We continue to calibrate NAVAID like several decades ago with an equipped aircraft, doing several rounds and with human criteria to confirm the calibration. The planes are costly to operate, and there are very few specialized planes for the current and future demand.
I am convinced drones are the right answer to palliate this situation, bringing quick, accurate and competitive complement for the majority of the qualifications to civil and military airports and air-traffic infrastructures. The technology proved it is reliable, non-dependent of aircraft availability and easy to operate.
How do you see the adoption of this new technology with drones in a sector as conservative as the aeronautical?
Aeronautical sector is not so conservative, many of today’s popular technologies are coming from this sector. What is true, we have one rule ¨safety¨, thanks to this rule, air transportation is the safest way to move around, and this is thanks to common work between manufactures, operators and regulators. So, no conservative, but cautious. In aviation the technologies should last several decades maintaining the criteria in safety and efficiency.
How do you think CANARD Drones and its unique drone-based solution can contribute to this new scenario of the aeronautical sector that we will face after overcoming the COVID-19 crisis?
Canard Drones is the game changer, thanks to the work performed with airports and authorities in the civil and military fields. They give us the opportunity to demonstrate our solution works, in strict compliance with their requirements. We are unique in terms of performance, simplicity to operate, and very competitive regarding operating cost.
Thanks to this ease of use and competitiveness. I think, CANARD Drones is and will be part of the solution and will play an important role in the after COVID-19 crisis environment.