The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has received the go-ahead to operationalise the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020, after they were acceded to by the National Assembly on March 6.

The proposed charges had been gazetted by the CS for Transport James Macharia, under Legal Notice No. 4 of 2021 on January 22, 2021.

The approval of the Civil Aviation Regulations, 2020 paves the way for full implementation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework in Kenya.

These charges are a reduction from the revoked rates under the Kenya Civil Aviation (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems)Regulations, 2017.

Under the new cost structure, Kenyans and entities wishing to own and operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems popularly known as drones, will now pay a Sh3,000 registration fee. 

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director General, Gilbert Kibe, said the gazettement of the Regulations heralded a new era in the country’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,” Kibe said.

Individuals or entities that have already imported UAS are encouraged to apply to the KCAA for registration and approval to lawfully engage in safe and secure drone operations of all types.

The operations could include precision agriculture, wildlife management, inspection of power grid, building, dams, solar inspection, research, crop spraying and data collection, forest management, road traffic monitoring and surveillance and aerial mapping.

The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020 categorises drones based on the risks posed by their operations, from low risks to high risks under categories A, B and C.

The purpose of the UAS, and risk to public safety and security form the basis for consideration by the Authority in registering, issuing of approvals and authorizations for operations.

In an era where privacy of persons and property is an important issue, the regulations have made provisions that ensure such discretion is respected as provided in the constitution and other national laws.

Additionally, KCAA will be undertaking public sensitisation on the application and implication of the regulations.

In Kenya, only citizens, residents, businesses and governments are eligible to own a drone.

This excludes foreign tourists and the only option left is to rent a drone locally. However, the law also provides for a 30-day temporary permit that may be suitable for travelers.

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