Frontex aircraft fly 1000 mission


Planes and drones deployed by Frontex to support EU Member States with fighting cross-border crime and  search and rescue have reached the milestone of 1000 missions this year.

Throughout 2022, Frontex aircraft took part in various missions in Spain, the Central Mediterranean, the Ionian Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. They were also active in the English Channel, the Adriatic Sea, Serbian, and at the Ukrainian border.

  • 8 aircraft
  • 150 missions a month
  • 800 operations
  • 100 suspicious vessels detected
  • 21 000 people rescued

The aircrafts are equipped with modern technological solutions, and stream live video to the Frontex Situation Centre. In the centre, experts from different authorities analyse the situation in real-time and alert the competent national authorities to support a fast and effective response to cross-border crime. Search and rescue is a key area where Frontex supports Member States, reason why many experts in the Frontex Situation Centre have a significant experience in rescue operations.

All the operations are carried out in close cooperation with EU countries. This year, the aircraft detected already 800 events, twice as many as in the previous year. Half of them were related to law enforcement operations, where Frontex assisted national authorities in irregular migration cases, detections of drugs and illegal cigarettes smuggling. Additionally, they spotted 100 suspicious vessels which are investigated by Member States.

Frontex also assisted authorities in about 400 search and rescue events this year. In 100 cases, the Frontex Surveillance Aircraft have broadcast a “Mayday” to all nearby vessels in the operational areas and the competent search and rescue authorities have been informed by FSC, helping to rescue more than 21000 people at sea. In most of the cases, people smugglers forced migrants onto heavily overcrowded boats, without life jackets and very often without enough fuel, water, and food supplies, endangering the lives of hundreds of people.

As Frontex operations serve different functions, our planes also reported cases of illegal fishing and pollution to our partner EU agencies, the European Fisheries Control Agency, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.