IAA Has Received First Application For New Drone Operator Approval

By Dave Simpson
IAA Has Received First Application For New Drone Operator Approval

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has said that it has received its first application for a new drone operator approval, which is available under new EU drone regulations that came into force in December of 2020.

The IAA stated that drone delivery firm Manna Aero is the first company that has applied for a new drone operator approval, following its recent trials of drone delivery services in rural Ireland.

Light UAS Operator Certificate

The approval is officially titled a "light UAS operator certificate" (LUC).

Explaining what an LUC is on its website, the IAA said that an LUC "is an organisational approval certificate that assigns certain privileges to a drone operator. When the IAA is satisfied that the LUC applicant has demonstrated all the necessary capabilities, it will issue the certificate and assign privileges to the drone operators based on their level of maturity. The privileges may allow the organisation to self-authorise operations, removing the requirement to obtain a prior authorisation.

"The privileges may be one or more of the following:


  • conduct operations covered by standard scenarios without submitting a declaration;
  • self-authorise operations conducted by the drone operator and covered by a pre-defined risk assessment;
  • self-authorise all operations conducted by the drone operator without applying for an authorisation."

According to the IAA, the LUC will be recognised in all EU member states, providing greater business opportunities for Irish-based commercial drone operators.

The IAA said that it will now review Manna Aero's application in line with the requirements of the EU regulations, and added that it is looking forward to receiving other LUC applications.

"An Exciting Development"

In a statement published on the IAA's website, the newly appointed aviation regulator of the IAA, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile, said, "This is an exciting development. Local delivery by drone is a green technology and an economically efficient way to provide services to rural communities and isolated individuals, including delivery of food and medicines. The new pan-European regulation opens doors for innovative companies such as Manna Aero, giving them access to a market of over 500 million consumers. The IAA's review will ensure that the service meets all of the safety requirements, including appropriate risk assessment.

"The IAA is currently undergoing a process of structural change. The air traffic control service will be separated out as a standalone entity, and the Commission for Aviation Regulation will be merged with the IAA. Our ambition for the new IAA is to facilitate innovation and competitiveness with the highest safety and security standards, promoting consumer benefit."

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