Another foreign drone company has moved into HCA Airport 

American counterdrone company Dedrone establishes its own office at HCA Airport. At the same time, the airport's 2023 accounts show that drone activity grew once again at the airport, which is experiencing great interest in both its drone test centre and its business park.  

The drone ecosystem in and around HCA Airport adds another exciting international player. 

Earlier this year, it became official that the American drone company Thunderstrike Aviation is establishing its own test, development and demonstration centre at Funen Airport, and now another American company has opened an office at HCA Airport - also known as Hans Christian Andersen Airport.  

Dedrone is one of the world's leading companies in counterdrone technology - advanced technologies for airspace surveillance and protection against drones - with operations in 32 countries worldwide. 

"We take it as a huge pat on the back that a company of Dedrone's calibre wants to become part of our ecosystem of companies in both manned and unmanned traffic," says Hans Okholm Vejrup, CEO of HCA Airport. 

Dedrone's office at HCA Airport will not be permanently staffed, but will be used by Dedrone employees in connection with, for example, testing and development tasks at the national drone test centre UAS Denmark Test Center, which is located at the airport. 

Drones as a growth area 

Dedrone's and Thunderstrike Aviation's impressions come in the wake of a 2023 where the number of drone operations at Funen Airport once again increased compared to the previous year. A total of 4,171 drone operations were carried out in 2023, and the year also saw visits from several international drone companies. 

"Overall, 2023 was a year where we focused on further developing the drone area and our business park in particular. The drone area is a strategic focus area for the whole of Funen, and we see significant synergies between our business park and our test centre, both of which are important elements in an ecosystem that creates local growth jobs," says Hans Okholm Vejrup. 

However, drone activities could not fully cover the decline in passenger numbers, according to HCA Airport's recently published financial statements for 2023. The result for the year ended at  

DKK -12.86 million compared to DKK -11.38 million in 2022. 

Receives exemption from certification 

Hans Okholm Vejrup expects both the drone area and the business park to grow further in 2024. On the other hand, passenger numbers are on track to remain at the current level. This is despite the fact that the charter trips in 2023 were all sold out by the tour operators. 

The status quo in passenger numbers is due to the fact that, according to a current exemption from the Danish Transport Authority, the airport may have a maximum annual passenger number of 10,000 passengers. The exemption allows HCA Airport to operate under a Danish set of rules instead of being subject to an EU set of rules.

"HCA Airport will continue to be compliant with the applicable national and international aviation regulations," emphasises Hans Okholm Vejrup. However, the exemption requires that the airport's annual passenger numbers do not exceed 10,000 passengers. 

"We have assessed that this is currently the best solution for HCA Airport. We can continue to develop manned air traffic as a business area within the framework of the 10,000 passengers, and we remain a fully compliant international airport in terms of regulations and aviation safety. But we avoid the expensive costs of EU certification and maintenance of this certification because we keep passenger numbers below 10,000 per year," explains Hans Okholm Vejrup. 


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