BURDI project gets green light from EU to explore implementation of drone legislation

The European Commission has selected the BURDI project to test and implement a U-space concept, based on the recent EU legislation providing a framework for the implementation of U-space. The consortium of 18 partners was granted a funding of 4.7 M euros.

BURDI stands for Belgium – Netherlands U-space Reference Design Implementation. It is driven by a consortium of skeyes as an Air Navigation Service Provider and coordinator of the project, Belgian Defence, SkeyDrone as U-space Service Provider, IT and data providers Unifly and Unisphere, drone operators SABCA, INFRABEL, Helicus, DroneMatrix, FLYING-CAM and Skyports, Port of Antwerp as UAS Geographical zones manager, and supporting entities in relevant domains: Alliance for New Mobility Europe (AME) for communication and dissemination, Future Needs for business sustainability, EUROCONTROL and Netherland Aerospace Centre (NLR) for international harmonisation and AIRBUS for co-creation and coordination of stakeholders towards public embracement of urban air mobility operations.

Testing to the limit

The aim of the project is to apply the new European regulatory U-space framework  - for which some implementation choices were left open by the EU Regulator -  performing use cases. This way, drone users will put skeyes as Common Information Services Provider (CISP) and SkeyDrone as U-space Service Provider (USSP) to the test. How will these services providers handle demands for flight authorisations, traffic information, weather information, and other services in real life environment tests within controlled and uncontrolled airspace as well as Urban Air Mobility context ? How could coordination mechanism with stakeholders be established, for the first time, before U-space airspace implementation as it is required by the European regulation ?

The Project development will be a phased approach:

  1. Limited testing : early U-space services to limited number of drone operators
  2. Extensive testing : early U-space areas open to all drone operators
  3. Full implementation : U-space airspace open to all drone operators.

Tests will mainly be executed in Antwerp, Brussels and Liège. BURDI will start in October 2022 and last for almost 3 years until June 2025.

European U-space

The results of the tests will be regularly presented to an advisory board, consisting of 8 stakeholders: American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM International), Belgian Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), Inspectie Leefomgeving & Transport (IL&T), City of Antwerp, Proximus, Vereniging Vlaamse Vliegclubs (VVMV), Fédération Francophone des Aéroclubs Moteurs (FFACM) and VIVES University of Applied Sciences.

The advisory board will discuss the outcome of the tests, propose advices, analyse the consequences for further implementation within Europe, …in close collaboration with the consortium.

In the end, the BURDI project is expected to facilitate a real-life U-space implementation within European Member States with the active participation and coordination of all required stakeholders, in a safe and sustainable way. It will ensure safe integration with manned aviation, and it will make a full set of required U-space services available to participating drone operators, including operational interface with Air traffic control.

Dominique Dehaene

skeyes - Communication Manager & Spokesperson

Audrey Dorigo

Porte-Parole, skeyes

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About skeyes

skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres (*). The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes also develops innovating services regarding drones and contributes to a sustainable future of the aviation sector, among other things with respect to the environment.

skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland) with the aim of improving air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.


(*) The upper airspace of the Benelux countries and North West Germany is managed jointly with the EUROCONTROL centre in Maastricht. 


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