Drone detection tests at Frankfurt and Munich airports

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), the German air navigation service provider, and the airport operators of Frankfurt and Munich, Fraport and FMG (Flughafen München GmbH), are starting to test drone detection systems at Frankfurt and Munich airports in August this year. The results of these test operations are important for the systematic detection of drones at and around German airports. Reliable detection of unmanned aircraft systems flying without permission is necessary to ensure targeted drone defence.

30.07.2020.- In summer 2019, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure tasked DFS with the preparation of a concept for drone detection at German airports. As a first step, DFS experts identified the size of the areas to be covered for safety reasons. In the scheduled tests, the current state of technology will be investigated within the framework of a feasibility study on the available systems, focusing on the potential detection range and general performance.

Drone experts of DFS, Fraport and FMG prepared the tests and conducted a comprehensive safety assessment of the planned procedures. The test project has been coordinated with the aeronautical authorities of the relevant Federal German States, the Darmstadt Administrative District Board and the Southern Bavaria Aviation Office. The test runs will be accompanied by the Federal and State police forces.

The insights gained from the test project will form the basis for deciding which technology seems suitable for future drone detection at airports.
There have been repeated drone sightings in airspaces across Germany where drone flights are prohibited. In spring 2019 as well as in February and March 2020, flight operations at Frankfurt Airport had to be discontinued for safety reasons for a while after one or more drones had been sighted. Periods in which it is impossible to take off or land have significant economic consequences for airports and airlines. In addition, drones flying in the vicinity of airports without an air traffic control clearance are a hazard to passengers and crews of manned aviation.

Drone flights in these areas may be assessed as dangerous interference in air traffic and can be punished with imprisonment of up to ten years.

Media contact:
Ute Otterbein
Telephone: +49 (0)6103 707 -4162

Boris Pfetzing
Telephone: +49 (0)721 6903 -310

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,600 employees as at 30 June 2020.  DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, more than three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. DFS has been working on the integration of drones into air traffic since 2016 and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. www.dfs.de