Spain Bans Civilian Drone Use Across The Whole Country, For Any Commercial Purpose

NEWS: Spain’s State Agency For Aerial Safety (AESA), which depends on the Ministry of Industry, has banned all civilian drone use across the whole of the country for any commercial purpose.

In a five-page document, AESA notes that “the use of this type of machine is recent” and that the agency has published the note: “with the aim of avoiding misunderstandings and possible incidents” the ban and provides examples of the types of commercial activities that are prohibited in Spain:

“The use of aircraft piloted by remote control with commercial or professional ends is not permitted, and never has been, in order to carry out activities considered aerial work, such as photogrammetry, intelligent agriculture (detecting those specific plants on an estate that might need intervention, such as irrigation, fumigation, to optimise crops), any type of visual reporting, the inspection of high tension or railway lines, border surveillance, detection of forest fires, reconnaissance of places affected by natural disasters in order to direct adequate aid, etc”.

El Confidencial reports that the new ruling by AESA would render useless two multi-million euro projects under development in Spain: the new Atlas Experimental Flight Centre in Jaén, in which the Andalusian regional government invested €4.5 million in and that only opened in March, and a €40 million aerodrome project in Doñana National Park that wants to operate drones weighing up to 650kg.

Carrying out specialist aerial tasks such as  aerial filming, surveillance, detection, fire extinction, cartography: “require authorisation be AESA” but that, until the new regulations regarding drone use are ready, “AESA cannot issue said authorisations because there is no legal basis to do so”.

“Using drones for carrying out this kind of work with professional or commercial purposes without authorisation is therefore illegal and subject to the imposition of the corresponding sanctions”.

AESA says that the new drone regulations being discussed with “the industry” will contain “specific regulation for them”, and will allow for their use “in specific conditions and limitations”, whilst establishing: “a classification of these aircraft, specifying which will be exempt from registration and the need for an air navigation certificate (…) determining specifically in which places and under which condition they can fly, and the specific security measures that might be required in each of those places”.

The Spanish agency says that “technically an aircraft piloted by remote control is considered a drone when it has a commercial or professional use”, underlining that model aircraft are “exclusively” those used for leisure or sport.

The agency reminds Spaniards that model aircraft use is subject to regulation by Spain’s Royal Aeronautical Federation, as well as the regional norms of Spain’s seventeen autonomous communities, and then by municipal bylaws.

EDITORIAL: A Narrow-Minded Ban On Commercial Drones

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