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Drone capability has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years, with the technology becoming more mature and advanced; and it's just the beginning. Demand for and access to UAVs continues to grow, but what could that mean for airports?

Last month Manchester Airport experienced what is believed to be the UK's closest near-miss  between a plane and an unmanned aircraft. 

On 16 November pilots of an easyJet Airliner, carrying 186 passengers, reported that they had come within three feet of smashing into a drone at 360mph. 

The result of such a collision would be, undoubtedly, catastrophic. And while no harm was done this time - thankfully - it prompts us to ask this question: what could be next? 

The near-miss occurred in broad daylight at 8,000ft, shortly after the plane took off from Manchester Airport. 

It has been given the most dangerous Category A rating by the UK Airprox Board in a report on the matter. 

The drone threat is evolving, as unmanned aircraft surge in popularity and capability. Drones are getting faster and smaller. With a longer battery life and range, they're able to travel further and run longer than ever before.  

Drone mentions have spiked in the news in general, with hobbyists out in force; living vicariously through their camera lens as cities, provinces and countries have been locked down. 

Even security authorities are fighting a significant rise in criminal drone activity, with UAV's being used to transport narcotics and contraband across boarders and into prisons. 

It's not unusual for drone incidents to hit the news. So, we don't normally made a big deal. But this - the UK's closest near miss on record - marks yet another shift in drone activity and its evolution. 

It's tough to say exactly where it will take us. But, one thing is for sure; it's going somewhere. And faster, with greater purpose.