Kenya formalised ownership of drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAVs), in 2020 following approval of the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, Act 2019 by parliament in April.
The follow-up Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020, provided a basis for evaluating drones for registration and approval based on various factors, including security risk to public safety and security.
But despite the approval of purchase and ownership of drones by private owners and entities, the earlier proposed regulatory fees were revoked and needed adjustment.
These issues were addressed in the Civil Aviation (Regulatory fees for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020.
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.
According to the Civil Aviation (Regulatory Fees and Charges for Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020, Kenyans and entities that wish to own and operate a drone will have to pay Ksh3,000 as a registration fee. The new fees are way less than the original charges.
With parliament’s approval, the Kenya Civil Authority is ready to go ahead and operationalise the new charges.
The regulatory body says those who already have drones and use them for different purposes should apply for official registration. Additionally, KCAA will be undertaking public sensitisation on the application and implication of the regulations.
According to the law, there are three kinds of drones based on their risk profiles, A, B and C – from low to high risk.
“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,” Capt. Gilbert M. Kibe, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General, said.