Importing a drone in Kenya was as hard as importing a Lamborghini SUV in the nation’s borders. This attributed to lack of proper regulations governing the unmanned Aerial vehicles. All that changed on Thursday June 18 in a directive that would relax the burden of drone operators.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has significantly reduced the importation charges for drones in Kenya, with the new proposals suggesting an import permit of only KSh3,000, according to a report by Kenyan Wall Street.
The Authority’s earlier proposals of an import permit of KSh20,000 were rejected by Parliament, which prompted it to revise the charges.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has already started accepting applications for those who want permits and registration of drones. According to KCAA Director General, Gilbert Kibe, the exercise will be based on the drone category so as to avoid congestion in the skies.
Interested parties can apply to categories including recreation, filming, media and photography.
However, the proposals and importation charges for drones are still subject to approval by the Transport secretary.
In April this year, Kenya legalized drone operations, also referred to as unmanned aircraft systems, for both commercial and recreational purposes. The legalization thus allowed for the manufacturing, assembly, modification, testing, and sale of drones in Kenya, subject to approval by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority under the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2019.
Before the gazettement of these regulations, there was no legal framework on drones in the country, rendering the importation of a drone illegal, with exception to the military drones. As a result, hundreds of drones were confiscated at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). However, KCAA now says it will be releasing them to the owners once everything has been finalized.
East Africa is projected to generate revenues well over $150 million in the next 2-3 years from drone operations.
With drones revolutionizing the face of photography, filmography and media use, expect more drones to hover above an estate near you. Happy droning!