Regulation of drones headache for Kenya

by Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe Kenyan airspace could be facing threats of unknown magnitude owing to unregulated usage of drones after the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director General Capt Gilbert Kibe said they have no capacity to control their operations due to lack of legislation.

Kibe told the Parliamentary committee on delegated legislation that the country is exposed to danger which must be mitigated in draft regulations set to be reviewed in June. “Drones are intrinsically safe but can be misused. If we do not have legislation in place, it will be very difficult to stop.

Yes, we are exposed to danger but we need to mitigate that danger,” he said. The committee’s Acting chairman George Gitonga (Tharaka) led an inspection tour at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

“As the regulator and provider, we issue licences to airlines, cabin crew, register airlines and offer navigation services. Legal Notice of 2009 banned usage of drones and therefore, any drone imported after the legal notice is illegal unless and until we have approved legislation,” added Kibe.

Following the ban in 2009, drone owners are required to get approval from the Department of Defence before KCAA gives the go ahead for importation.

KCAA said for them to adequately monitor, undertake surveillance and control usage of the unmanned or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RAPS), they require a surveillance machine that will cost Sh5 billion.

Some of the proposals floated, upon legislation of drone usage, is to implant electronic chips and barcode that detail the owner and usage of the unmanned vehicle. Currently, the Kenya Revenue Authority is holding 150 imported drones at JKIA.

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