Aviation authority announces fees for commercial use but has not specified any fee for individuals using drones for recreational purpose
Commercial operators of drones in the UAE have to shell out a fee of $13,624 (AED50,000) per year, according to General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operators using drone for non-commercial purpose are charged $1,107 (AED4,063) a year though the operator has to pay $273 (AED1,000) every 90 days. The fee for UAS training entities has also been set at $13,624 (AED50,000), but for five years.
In a statement sent to Arabian Business, the GCAA said the use of drones in the UAE is governed by three different regulations, which separates drone use into three categories: recreational, experimental/research purpose and for commercial/non-commercial (organisation).
“Commercial operations impose higher safety risk to people on the ground, other airspace users, and critical infrastructure, hence additional evaluation and mitigation measures are applied such as certifications, safety, security, airspace assessments, review of manuals and personnel qualification assessment,” it said.
However, the authority clarified that its approval allows the drone operator to operate anywhere in the country at any time without any additional fee or requirements, provided the operator complies with the GCAA approval.
While GCAA did not respond to whether it was planning any fees for individuals using drones for recreational purpose, it is mandatory for all individuals to apply online, giving their personal details and drone specifics. At present, the online application does not specify any fee.
According to the GCAA website, all UAS/drones weighing five kilogramme or less are allowed to fly in the green flying zone; no video or image capturing devices are allowed when flying the drone; they can fly only during day time and in good weather conditions and no user shall fly the UAS/drones within five kilometres of UAE airports outer fence, heliports, helicopter landing sites, and airfields or in controlled zones.
The GCAA also makes it compulsory for the seller to inform the authority in case of the reselling the drone.