CASA expands unmanned airspace trial areas around Sydney Airport and Sydney harbour

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia have announced new airspace, around Sydney Airport and Sydney Harbour, will be added in the automated airspace authorisations trial for certified commercial drone operators from mid-November 2023.

Coinciding with this announcement is the extension of the automated airspace authorisations trial for a further 12-months.

The expansion of the trial means more remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders will be able to use a participating CASA-verified drone safety app to apply to fly:

  • within 5.5 km (3 nm) of Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and Sydney Airports
  • in Restricted Areas near Sydney Harbour.

The automated authorisations reduce approval times from weeks to minutes, allowing ReOC holders to secure more business, in new locations, faster – saving time and money.

Automated airspace authorisations were launched in 2021 by CASA in partnership with Airservices Australia. It uses historical flight data from crewed aircraft operations to identify locations at the selected trial sites where it’s safe for licensed and certified commercial drone operators to fly. Since the trial began in 2021, more than 1,275 automated airspace authorisations have been issued in Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.

CASA and Airservices Australia are committed to ensuring safe drone operations in these high-traffic areas, giving all airspace users peace of mind.

Only chief remote pilots with a current ReOC can apply.

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