IAG boss calls for register of drones after near misses with aircraft

Chief executive of British Airways’ owner says drones may become serious risk to air passengers

Drone in flight
A series of near misses between passenger planes and unmanned drones have alarmed the airline industry. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Gwyn Topham

The boss of British Airways’ owner IAG has called for a register of drone usersafter a series of near collisions between passenger planes and unmanned aircraft.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said that “without question” new restrictions should be brought in by the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, warning that the growing size and capability of drones would make them a serious risk to air passengers.

Last year 28 near misses with drones and planes were reported around airports in Britain by the UK Airprox Board – including several categorised at the highest level of risk involving commercial airliners.

The pilots’ union, Balpa, has led calls for action on drones, but BA had not previously endorsed its call for specific measures.

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