09 January 2019 Press releases

Air traffic management system for drones: DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, with support by GvW Graf von Westphalen, invests in Unifly NV

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH ("DFS") is enhancing  its software development competency in the field of drone technology: Through its subsidiary DFS International Business Services GmbH, DFS has acquired 23.6 percent in Unifly NV and is, thus, the largest shareholder of the Belgian software development company which specializes in operational air traffic management system for unmanned aircraft systems. GvW Graf von Westphalen supported DFS in this transaction.

Unifly NV was founded in Antwerp in the year 2015 and operates in Belgium and Germany and, in the meantime, also in Spain, France, Denmark, the United States of America, Malawi, China as well as Japan. The company offers in UniflyUTMS , a cloud-based software platform for telematic services to integrate low-flying unmanned aircraft systems into air traffic management. Unifly is the main supplier for Germany’s  future traffic management system for unmanned aircraft, named UTM (Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management).

This technology will enable DFS to expand its activities for harmonized and safe co-existence of manned and unmanned aviation. DFS is considered to be in the lead in Europe when using drone technology and last year in Frankfurt has conducted the first controlled drone flight at an international airport.

GvW Graf von Westphalen supported DFS in the acquisition of the shares under the leadership of the Düsseldorf partner Helmut Kempf and a team from various offices consisting of Ritesh Rajani (M&A, Hamburg), Dr. Joachim Mulch (IP, Düsseldorf) as well as Christian Kusulis (antitrust, Frankfurt). Lydian, a partner firm of GvW in the network SCG Legal Group, was retained for issues under Belgium law. Helmut Kempf most recently advised DFS, a client for many years, in the opening of representative offices in Singapore and China (more).

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,400 employees as at 31 December 2017. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. www.dfs.de

DFS IBS is a finance holding company that consolidates commercial business subsidiaries within the DFS Group. It manages and finances investments in subsidiaries that develop and provide services on the air transport market, boost the further development of the air transport market and support and promote DFS in its tasks.

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