Spain’s unmanned aviation sector received a boost on 19 March 2018 when the new 2018-2021 National Strategic Plan was presented for the development of civil remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) in Spain. This strategy, developed as part of the Innovation Transport and Infrastructure Plan and the Internationalization Transport and Infrastructure Plan 2018-2020, has defined a new strategy to transform UAS activities in Spain.
The Innovation Plan seeks to establish a specialized laboratory for unmanned vehicles to develop new business models, test new disruptive concepts and create new high-impact business opportunities for companies in which the Civil Works Ministry is a stakeholder. A complete review of the airspace management system, which was designed for manned aircraft, is part of the plan so RPAs will be entirely integrated within the air transport sector. Other near-term challenges include enforcing the Royal Act (approved on December 30th 2017) and developing a coordinated strategy between all stakeholders to apply the law.
The budget for the RPAs National Strategic Plan is EUR 15 million distributed across 29 different initiatives.
On 1 April 2018 there were in 2,985 professional RPAS operators in Spain approved by the National Air Safety Agency (AESA) and 74 approved training organizations. The most conservative estimates suggest that in Spain there 4,500 pilots and more than 50 companies specialized in the design and construction of these types of aircraft.
David Martinez Pereo is Chief Operating Officer of www.onairdrones.com