Twente Airport first Dutch airport where manned and unmanned flights share airspace

Altitude Angel, the world's most trusted UTM (Unified Traffic Management) technology provider, has announced that Twente Airport, in collaboration with the drone innovation cluster Space53, will deploy its Approval Services platform that will allow drone operators, and in the future eVTOL pilots, the ability to digitally submit and pay for flight requests for operations within the airport's airspace at the touch of a button. Twente Airport is the first airport in the Netherlands to use the revolutionary platform, already in use at international airports, regional airports and heliports in the United Kingdom, making it the first airport in the Netherlands where manned and unmanned flights can share airspace at the same time.

With its extensive and varied terrain and large, managed airspace, Twente Airport is well known in the Netherlands as a test bed for both crewed and uncrewed flight operations and has recently hosted, together with Space53 exercises conducted by The Royal Netherlands Airforce, national police force, and Twente Fire & Rescue service. 

Mike Holsheimer, program manager of Space53 on the deployment of Approval Services: "As our drone partners are increasingly conducting BVLOS drone operations (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight, beyond the direct view of the pilot) within Twente Airport's airspace, having just one source where the correct and most up-to-date information can be found, showing both manned and unmanned activity, is crucial to ensure safety at and around the airport." 

Gerben Groothuis of Twente Airport adds: "Altitude Angel's Approval Services platform gives us the certainty we need to allow drone activity alongside that of manned aircraft. As the need for more unmanned flights arises for eVTOL and drone operators, the Approval Services platform will allow us to scale up our operations quickly, easily and safely."

Paul deHaan, Altitude Angel NL, Managing Director, added: “Through the adoption of Approval Services, Twente Airport is enabling the next generation of airspace users – without doing so at the expense of existing operations.  Crewed and uncrewed aircraft can share the same skies, safely and securely, if the right platforms and technology are deployed.  

“Approval Services gives Twente Airport the flexibility to approve drone operations by allowing drone operators to submit flight plans, which take place in part wholly or in part, within an airport’s controlled airspace, quickly and securely, bringing together traditional air traffic control systems with digital unified traffic management solutions.”  

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