Australian regulator invites feedback on proposed charges for drones

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is conducting an industry survey on the proposed charges for drone or remotely piloted aircraft services.

CASA proposes to change the current regulatory service fees, including changes from an hourly rate charge to fixed fees for some services, creating a simpler and clearer fee structure. The regulation, or operator accreditation for drone flights flown for commercial or business use (any operation other than sport or recreation) opens on 30 September 2020 and will be required by 28 January 2021.

The consultation relates to proposed charges for commercial drones registered before 21 June 2021.

The Australian government passed legislation to introduce mandatory remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) registration and operator accreditation in July 2019. This is in addition to existing certification, licensing, flight authorisations and record keeping requirements for commercial, micro and excluded category RPA operators.

The proposed charges, include:

  • an initial fee-free registration period for commercial drones or RPA registered before 30 June 2021
  • introduction of a simplified fee structure for other drone or RPA services.

From 30 September 2020 until 30 June 2021 the new RPA registration levy will be free. The Australian Government will reconsider the pricing of the charge in early 2021, at which point users will be consulted accordingly.

A range of other drone services will continue to be charged at an hourly rate. For all complex RPA operations, the hourly rate will be charged at AUD190. Charges for the following services are available on request:

  • approval of operation of a large RPA (>150 kg)
  • permission to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS)
  • re-issue of permision to operate BVLOS
  • approval of risk assessment workshops for complex operations.

Certification (or variation) of a person to conduct RePL training will continue to be charged at the hourly rate of AUD160.

The proposed charges are based on expected volume and demand for services from commercial, micro and excluded category RPA operators in Australia, over the next five years. This has been calculated on an estimated volume of 8,000 commercial and 32,000 micro and excluded RPA and accounts for seven per cent growth in the sector annually over five years.

CASA is committed to reviewing these charges annually, or as new data becomes available, to ensure they accurately reflect the cost of delivering these services and take into consideration the expected growth and innovation in the sector.

To participate in the survey visit: https://consultation.casa.gov.au/stakeholder-engagement-group/proposed-remotely-piloted-aircraft-rpa-regulatory/consultation/intro/

For more information visit:

www.casa.gov.au

 

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