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KCAA to charge entities Sh3,000 to operate drones

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) will charge Kenyans and entities wishing to own and operate drones a Sh3,000 registration fee.

The latest development comes after KCAA received a green light to bring into operation the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020, which was passed by the National Assembly in March 6, 2021.

The approval clears the way for the full enforcement of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework in Kenya.

The new charges are lower than the revoked rates under the Kenya Civil Aviation (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2017.

KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe says the gazetting of the new regulations ushers in a new era in Kenya’s aviation ecosystem by opening up the sector to innovations.

“Innovation in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has been accelerating at such an exponential rate. The capabilities of this technology are limitless – from the positives such as filming movies, documentaries, sports, weddings and delivering medicines,” he said.

KCAA has urged Kenyans and entities that have already imported drones to register and seek approval to lawfully engage in safe and secure operations such as precision agriculture, wildlife management, an inspection of the power grid, building, dams, solar inspection, research, crop spraying, data collection, forest management, road traffic monitoring, and surveillance and aerial mapping.

The new regulations categorise UAS based on the risks posed by their operations, from low risks to high risks. There are three risk categories namely A, B, and C.

While registering, authorising, and approving drone operations, KCAA will consider the purpose of the UAS, risk to public safety and security.

The guidelines have provisions that ensure that the privacy of persons and property as provided in the constitution and other laws are not violated.