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New Aviation Regulator Supports Drone Industry

07 Jan 2021

New Aviation Regulator Supports Drone Industry

Commercial Drone operator Manna Aero first to apply for a Certificate.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has received its first application for a new drone operator approval, which is available under new EU drone regulations which came into force in December 2020.

The approval, officially titled a ‘light UAS operator certificate’ (LUC), will be recognised in all EU Member States, providing greater business opportunities for Irish-based commercial drone operators. 

Manna Aero is the first company to apply for a LUC, following their recent trials of drone delivery services in rural Ireland. Their application will now be reviewed by the IAA in line with the requirements of the EU regulations.  The IAA looks forward to receiving other LUC applications.

Speaking at the handover of the application by video conference call, the newly appointed Aviation Regulator of the IAA, Mr. Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, welcomed the submission and emphasised the importance of a supportive regulatory environment for Ireland’s drone industry.

“This is an exciting development. Local delivery by drone is a green technology and an economically efficient way to provide services to rural communities and isolated individuals, including delivery of food and medicines. The new pan-European regulation opens doors for innovative companies such as Manna Aero, giving them access to a market of over 500 million consumers. The IAA’s review will ensure that the service meets all of the safety requirements, including appropriate risk assessment.” 

“The IAA is currently undergoing a process of structural change. The air traffic control service will be separated out as a stand-alone entity, and the Commission for Aviation Regulation will be merged with the IAA. Our ambition for the new IAA is to facilitate innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, promoting consumer benefit.”

What is a light UAS operator certificate?

A light UAS operator certificate (LUC) is an organisational approval certificate which assigns certain privileges to a drone operator. When the IAA is satisfied that the LUC applicant has demonstrated all the necessary capabilities, it will issue the certificate and assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may allow the organisation to self-authorise operations, removing the requirement to obtain a prior authorisation. The privileges may be one or more of the following:

  • conduct operations covered by standard scenarios without submitting a declaration; 
  • self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a pre-defined risk assessment;
  • self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation.

For more information on Drone Safety Regulations, visit www.iaa.ie/drones and www.easa.europa.eu/drones


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