Regulatory fees for drones to go up from Dec 23, with second hike slated for Jan 15, 2024 , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Regulatory fees for drones to go up from Dec 23, with second hike slated for Jan 15, 2024

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Drone flying in Singapore will become more expensive when a fee increase by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) – ranging from $5 to $50 – takes effect on Dec 23. 

The revised rates, which affect nine regulatory fees, will be introduced in two phases, with the second phase taking effect on Jan 15, 2024.

The fee revisions in 2024 will mirror those introduced this month, meaning a fee hike of $5 on Dec 23 will be followed by another $5 increase in 2024.

In a statement on Wednesday, CAAS said the increase in permit fees was necessary in order to recover regulatory costs as well as address the rise in costs since 2015.

It said it had been absorbing a large proportion of the cost for permits since 2015 in an attempt to keep fees low, which it noted as helpful in facilitating the use of drones in the industry.

“Over the years, the industry has matured and there has been an increase in both recreational and commercial unmanned aircraft activities. The need for CAAS to absorb the cost for permits has diminished,” it added .

The aviation authority said the costs of regulating the use of drones had also increased over the years, with commercial operations becoming more complex.

To mitigate the risks, CAAS said it needed to adopt enhanced measures to ensure oversight over such operations.

Other than the registration fee for registrable drones, which will increase from $15 to $20 on Dec 23, and to $25 on Jan 15, 2024, the other regulatory fees affect both operator and activity permits.

The revisions affecting fees to do with operator permits are the costliest, as they are slated to go up by $50 twice.

Meanwhile, revisions for fees to do with activity permits will range from $8 to $25 at each juncture, with the smaller increments applying to the costs of subsequent applications.

For Class 1 activity permits, which are required for drone activities that are neither recreational or educational, drones weighing more than 25kg but used for recreational purposes, or drones used for educational purposes and weigh more than 7kg, the first application will cost $90 by Dec 23, up from the original $75. It will then increase further in January 2024 to $120.

However, as part of the revisions, the cost of copying or replacing a document will be struck off, with individuals no longer needing to pay the current fee of $33 from Dec 23.