Saudi Arabia’s Civil Aviation Authority Issues Drone Permits

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Commercial and recreational drone operator permits are now being issued by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

The two-year drone permits, which cost $67 (SR250), are being issued following months of security clearances although 90% of applicants pass the security check, the GACA said.

The recreational permit is for the personal use of non-industrial and non-commercial drones only and requires no examination.

Unless approved by the GACA, the holder of the recreational permit are prohibited from flying their drones within eight kilometers of any piloted manned aircraft, industrial site, military base, royal palace or private property.

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As for commercial permits, first-time applicants are required to pay a $133 (SR500) examination and licensing fee and take a test on protocols such as airport approach and air traffic control, among others.

Any drone flown in the kingdom must be registered, according to GACA, while those importing drones into the country must have a permit and serial number for the device.

However, a GACA spokesperson said drones will be on sale in the kingdom soon.

This month, Riyadh will host a drone summit and expo to discuss changing regulations and legislation, as well as drone technology incorporation into national security plans.

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