Airports Council CEO Kevin Burke Criticizes Decision to Exclude Airports from Federal Drone Advisory Panel

Jan. 7, 2021

Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), criticized the decision to exclude airport executives from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee (DAC), the panel tasked with advising federal regulators on new policies around unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Burke called on the FAA and the Department of Transportation to appoint airport representatives to the committee seats allocated to airports since the DAC’s creation in 2016.

“This was an egregious oversight that raises serious questions about the committee’s ability to address significant safety, security and operational issues associated with the use of unmanned aircraft systems and urban air mobility systems in the airport environment,” Burke said. “Airport operators must be represented on the committee as we work to integrate drones into our National Airspace System safely, securely and effectively. We will work with the incoming Biden administration to address the outgoing Trump administration’s ill-advised and inappropriate exclusion of airports from the Committee.”

The DAC membership announced by the Secretary of Transportation on Jan. 5 eliminated airport representatives from the Advisory Committee, appointing in their place individuals without airport background or experience.

Airport operators have provided critical input and expertise to the Committee and the FAA on a range of issues around drone us in the National Airspace System. The appointments announced Jan. 5 ignored several highly qualified airport professionals who submitted nominations for seats on the committee.

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on UAS Mitigation at Airports published in October 2019 outlined the myriad safety, security, operational and policy issues associated with the integration of drone use on or near airports. The DAC was launched to address those issues through collaboration between industry and government.