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PhD defence

Legal Perspectives on the Cross Border Operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Thursday 14 November 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. P.M.J. Mendes de Leon
  • Prof. E.C.P.D.C. De Brabandere


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.


The incursion of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is radically shaping the future of international civil aviation. This technological innovation is creating disruptions in almost all areas of people’s activities. Will unmanned aircraft (UA) ever perform international commercial flights carrying passengers, freight and mail routinely? Will UAS enable new markets and spur economic growth and job creation worldwide? What is happening right now? To what should we be paying attention? What things may influence the future of unmanned commercial aviation? What are the legal challenges? This research aims to explore the current legal and regulatory frameworks from the angle of how they may facilitate the routine and cross-border operations of UAS. It specifically analyses the legal and regulatory challenges that civil UAS confront when used in cross-border operations, as follows:

- The legal regimes of the airspace;
- The notion of aircraft;
- The concept of international air navigation in relation to international air transport; and,
- The regulatory regime of safety.

In this endeavour, the author has also resorted to the rules of treaty interpretation laid down in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to give legal coherence and pragmatism in interpreting and applying international aviation rules to the cross-border operations of UAS.

Phd Dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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