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Airservices signs Frequentis deal to manage growing drone traffic

written by Jake Nelson | March 4, 2024

The DJI Mavic 2 quadcopter drone. (Image: DJI)

Airservices Australia is beginning work on a new drone traffic management system as it prepares for a forecast surge in drone use over the next two decades.

The body responsible for air traffic management in Australia says it has signed a deal with Frequentis Australasia to develop a Flight Information Management System (FIMS) capable of integrating drones, air taxis, and other uncrewed aircraft “seamlessly” into Australia’s airspace.

The partnership comes after an Airservices report released last month indicated that drone use in Australia is expected to rise from 1.5 million flights per year in 2023 to 60 million in 2043, or an average of 20 per cent per year for the next 20 years.

“Drones are the biggest growth area in aviation and our partnership with Frequentis to develop a FIMS will enable us to integrate traditional and new airspace users into increasingly busy airspace,” said Airservices CEO Jason Harfield.

“With Frequentis, we will develop a FIMS that meets the needs of Australian airspace users and ensures we can safely integrate millions of drone flights with other users. I’m confident the new FIMS will encourage the growing drone market to reach its full potential in Australia.”


The FIMS, which Airservices says will be “at the core of Australia’s Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) ecosystem”, will allow flight information to be shared between air traffic control and both crewed and uncrewed aircraft operators.

According to Airservices, the decision to use Frequentis came after “a comprehensive selection process” including prototype development and in-field trials.

Martin Rampl, managing director, Frequentis Australia, said Frequentis is “the only company worldwide to have successfully delivered UTM solutions to multiple Air Navigation Service Providers”.

“This strategic partnership with Airservices Australia represents another important milestone in our mission to support the Australian airspace ecosystem with safe, efficient and compliant integration of drones while fostering innovation and economic growth,” Rampl said.

“We are looking forward to working with Airservices to jointly develop the system, pushing technological innovation in the uncrewed aviation domain, including the ability to integrate new services in the future.”

Aside from drones, the FIMS will help manage related technologies like electric air taxis, which by 2043 are tipped to make one million flights per year, and electric air ambulances, which are expected to transport 100,000 patients per year.

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