More than 1.000 commercial drone flights a month in Belgium
Since March 2018, there have been more than 16.000 commercial drone flights above Belgium. Some were meant for inspection, others to make aerial photos. The information was communicated on Thursday, during the presentation of the new version of the drone guide. The upgrade of the guide, the drone guide PRO, has to make the use of drones easier.
The drone guide was launched in March 2018 and consists of a website and a mobile app. Until now, drone users could only check on maps where they were allowed to fly, but the new version, the drone guide PRO, is more interactive, which is essential for professional users.
Professional flights, the so-called ‘first-class flights’ always have to be communicated. And when they want to fly higher than 90 meters or in a normally forbidden area, they have to ask permission. Now they can do this online. A world’s first, according to Skeyes CEO, Johan Decuyper. “Nowhere else in the world, people can use an app to apply for a flight or to ask permission for an exception.
On September 25th, the first test flight was planned to transport blood samples between several Antwerp hospitals. In the last months, there were about 1.000 commercial flights per month. In the meantime, Belgium has 2.909 commercially registered drones, and 1.722 pilots have a flying license.
The authorized drones that will enter the airspace Skeyes controls will also be visible on the screens of the air traffic controllers. “An important step to guarantee safety in the air space. An absolute priority in aviation,” says Mobility Minister, François Bellot (MR).
With the drone guide upgrade, nothing changes for the recreational use of drones. They don’t have to apply for their flights, but they can check where they’re allowed to fly. The smaller leisure drones must not be registered. They can fly up to a maximum height of ten meters, not at night, not over people, not over roads or highways, and only on private grounds.
As of July 2020, there will be new European regulations for the use of drones. They will be far more flexible than the Belgian ones, stipulated in April 2016, and will boost the business world. The new rules are based on a radically different vision on the use of pilotless flying devices.