Drone Space gets nod for commercial operations


Drones supplying medicine. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A local drone training school is eyeing a slice of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) business after receiving the licence for commercial operations from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).

Drone Space, which opened in Nairobi in December, targets to use its drones for videography, geo-mapping and online delivery services, a move likely to heat up competition in the logistics sub-sector by leapfrogging infrastructure challenges.

“This landmark certification is a critical step in the use of drones to provide solutions to everyday challenges,” said Drone Space Chief Executive Officer Tony Mwangi.

“Over the last five years, there has been significant demand for drone pilots and legal operations.”

The remote operator’s certificate (ROC) allows licensed drone pilots to carry out specified operations for commercial purposes.

“Flying a drone is legal in Kenya, however, commercial drone operations require a pilot to obtain a remote operator’s certificate from the Authority [KCAA],” Mr Mwangi noted.

The Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, Act of 2019 was enacted in April 2020.

KCAA operationalised the new rules after they were approved by Transport Secretary James Macharia under Legal Notice No.4 of 2021 on January 22, 2021.

Astral Aviation, which runs its drone business under its subsidiary, Astral Aerial Solution, was issued the first ROC licence earlier this month.

Unauthorised drone operations in Kenya risk a one-year jail term or fine of Sh100,000.