Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport commissions drone detection equipment

Airspace around airport briefly closed for drone test flights

Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport took a brand new drone detection system into use on 22 May; an important step for an airport that also wants to profile itself as a drone hub. In order to align unmanned and manned air traffic, all authorised and unauthorised flights in and around the West Flanders airport area must first be mapped.

© Photo POM West-Vlaanderen
© Photo POM West-Vlaanderen

Visualisation of drones

After all, safety is paramount. Visualisation of all air traffic is essential to integrate drones. SkeyDrone, a subsidiary of skeyes and Brussels Airport Company specialising in the implementation of drones, was commissioned to equip Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport with drone detection equipment. To test this new system, on Wednesday 22 May, manned air traffic was temporarily halted for a number of demo tests with drones.

© Photo POM West-Vlaanderen
© Photo POM West-Vlaanderen

A digital future for the regional airport

skeyes took advantage of the shutdown of the airspace around Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport to also take a step forward in another project. As in Wallonia, skeyes also wants to control traffic from a central digital air traffic control centre. The dossier on where this centre should be located is the subject of talks between skeyes and Flanders.

Camera antenna for digital tower technology.
Camera antenna for digital tower technology.
“Since 2016, Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport and skeyes have joined forces for the further development of the airport. Several steps have been taken since then. With the integration of the drone detection system and the identification of the mast location for the digital tower, Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport has made significant progress,” says Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes. “This demonstrates that the airport is ready to face the challenges of a modern regional airport with a clear vision.”

At Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport, one of the drones examined the various possible locations for the digital camera masts, which will provide images to that future operations room. The search was on for the spot that would provide the best overview of the airport. The drone took images at each position at the height where the cameras would be placed. These will now be evaluated by skeyes experts on digital towers.






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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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