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'R150k for drone licence fees is horrendous'

New regulations by the CAA of remotely piloted aircrafts will come into effect in July.

FILE: New regulations by the CAA of remotely piloted aircrafts will come into effect in July. Picture: Free Images.

CAPE TOWN - The Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) on Monday said although it welcomes the South African Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) new drone regulations, it finds fault with the authority's steep licence fees that could cost as much as R150,000.

The tighter regulations of the use of remotely piloted aircrafts, that come into effect in July, includes that no drones may be operated above 400 feet or flown over any person within a 50 metre distance.

[LISTEN] _ Civil Aviation Authority to formally regulate drones_

The authority also warned that persons found in contravention of the new regulations could face imprisonment for certain contraventions or a R50,000 fine.

This has caused great concern in the film industry as no drone will be allowed to take flight without a permit, licenses and the operator being cleared.

CAASA's Hennie Kieser said the association does not mind being regulated, or as he put it, "over-regulated," as long as the CAA is within reason.

He is however discouraged by the steep license fees proposed by the authority.

"The cost CAA will slam the industry for an application is horrendous."

He also took to task the two-month long wait for a licence application.

"They said they will process the application within two months, now on 1 July we are going to bring them the first 30 [applications], a week later the next 30 [applications], so does that mean we have to wait five years every time?"

[LISTEN] Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa's Hennie Kieser on drone regulation