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Press Release

Willis Towers Watson launches drone disruption action plan


August 5, 2019

Willis Towers Watson has launched a disruption action plan specifically to deal with drone technology.

ASIA, 5 August 2019 — Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, has launched a disruption action plan specifically to deal with drone technology.

“Drone disruption at airports: A risk mitigation and insurance response” outlines the threat to airports by drones which are increasingly being used with malicious intent to cause disruption at airports with an increase from 35 reported incidents between 2013 to 2015 to nearly 290 from 2016-2018 in the UK alone1. This year, drone sightings have also disrupted flights at the international airport in Singapore.

Providing strategic risk mitigation strategies, the guidance highlights the importance of developing a single internal reporting point for drone sightings and early engagement with airline operators during initial drone sightings with emergency multi-agency drills being undertaken on a regular basis. The action-plan also outlines the current insurance solutions available and the multi-stakeholder collaborative approach needed to develop new innovative solutions for the aviation community.

Jago Harvard-Walls, Client Relationship Director and Transportation Lead in Asia, Willis Towers Watson, said “Drone-related incidents at airports may be a recent phenomenon, but they are expected to increase in frequency, complexity and severity as drones become larger and more powerful. Airports need to prepare for potential attacks through effective risk management and there are a number of steps that airports can take to prepare for these scenarios. This includes assessing, locating and understanding the type of drone that has infringed airspace, as well as reputation management.”

The damage to reputation can also be difficult to manage and mitigate. However, there are analytical tools which Willis Towers Watson can use to help quantify the risk to reputation and better prepare organisations to protect their balance sheet. There also remains a significant scope for airports to experience financial losses due to property damage, business interruption and legal liability from drone-related incidents.

“Managing the airport risk landscape effective requires the engagement and collective expertise of the sector to help build a more resilient airport industry, whilst supporting the potential for growth. Through the Airport Risk Community (ARC) founded by Willis Towers Watson, we aim to enable our airport clients to share best practices, risk mitigation strategies and identify emerging people and asset risks alongside innovative solutions so that the airport sector can build operational resilience, support sustainability and innovation to tackle industry risks,” said Scott Burnett, CEO, Corporate Risk & Broking Asia and Head of Asia, Willis Towers Watson.

“Members from our ARC are very concerned about the growing use of drone technology to disrupt and interfere with airport safety. As we have seen with the recent events in Gatwick and Singapore, and the subsequent re-routing of flights, drone technology is increasingly sophisticated and causes extensive disturbance. It is therefore essential that we help our clients to understand what risk mitigation strategies need to put in place to help airports handle the disruption caused by drones,” added Scott.

Click for more information about “Drone disruption at airports: A risk mitigation and insurance response”.

About Willis Towers Watson Airport Risk Community (ARC)

The ARC’s main purpose is to bring airport operators together in a spirit of collaboration to debate the breadth of risks facing the industry. We facilitate this process through hosting industry events – such as our Airport Conference from 18 to 20 September in Rome and through sharing thought leadership on current topics, as outlined in the enclosed article.

If you’d like to learn more about the ARC’s activities, including our forthcoming Rome event, or wish to provide further commentary on the above discussion – as well as suggestions for future papers, please contact Charlotte Dubec.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 45,000 employees serving more than 140 countries and markets. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

1 Forward, S. (2019, April 9). Current Drone Airprox Count and Information. Retrieved from

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