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It’s All System Go for Regulation of Drones in Kenya

Operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) can now fly their drones in Kenya legally.

This follows ratification of the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020 by Kenya’s Parliament which paves the way for full implementation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework in Kenya.

The new charges were first published in the public gazette on 22 January 2021 and were approved by the National Assembly on 6 March 2021.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General, Capt. Gilbert M. 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,” said Kibe.

Earlier in 2020, Kenya formalised ownership of drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAVs), following approval of the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, Act 2019 by parliament in April. These regulations provide a basis for evaluating drones for registration and approval based on various factors, including security risk to public safety and security.

The Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020 was the remaining bit to complete the formalisation of drone (UAVs) in Kenya.

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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 drones (UAVs) will now pay a Ksh3,000 registration fee. Details of the charging structure can be obtained from www.kcaa.or.ke.

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Individuals or entities that have already imported UAS are encouraged to apply to the
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority for registration and approval to lawfully engage in safe and secure drone operations of all types which could include precision agriculture, wildlife management, an inspection of the 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 approvals and authorizations for operations.

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