Belgian drone pilots worry about new tariffs
Belgian authorities have set up a new Royal Decree draft on drone operations with new tariffs for registration, licenses, and training, to cite just a few, ranging from 25 to 5 000 euros. Drone pilots see those new, higher tariffs as arbitrary and worry they will ground all activities.
“We’re facing a Royal Decree that blocks all Walloon initiatives,” says the drone sector. Belgium’s new Royal Decree project lays new grounds for the operation of drones. It also sets new tariffs for registration (25 euros), online training (125 euros), operation declaration (250 euros), authorization (1 500 euros), surveillance (750 euros), light operator certificate (5 000 euros), and so forth.
“When we saw the draft, we were amazed at the proposed tariffs,” declares Patrick Mascart, ID2Move project manager. Drone operation isn’t cheap with most professional machines costing at least 10 000 euros. Those new tariffs could very well hinder any SME’s development.
Sources from the sector have calculated that drone activity will roughly cost between 500 000 to 800 000 euros to the State, especially for safety. That represents eight full-time jobs. “It’s like they just applied the rule of three, dividing the cost by the number of drones, pilots, or licenses,” wonders a source from the sector.
‘Only a draft’
“These tariffs have already changed and will continue to do so. There were still questions on this subject some days ago. These figures aren’t up to date. It’s too soon to communicate, it still needs work,” ensures Jasper Pillen, François Bellot’s Chief of staff.
The Air Transport General Management (DGTA) confirms that those tariffs were only intended as a proposition to be discussed inside of the Belgian Civil Drone Council.
In addition to all that, the new European legislation will be applied as of July. “Missions will be divided into sub-categories, from open with online training for low altitude and low-risk flights to specific and certified categories. This latter one is designed for cross-border flights or flying taxis,” details Mathieu Gerard from Deltacopter, commercial manager at the Belgian Drone School.