UK Drone Fees 2020/21: Commercial Pilot Price Guide™ note

This post is more pertinent to UK readers due to its themes around UK drone laws and training.

For a similar USA post, read the FAA Drone License Guide

  • Charges to apply for, or renew, Standard Permissions will stay the same;
  • There is a fee for Standard Scenario (STS) applications, but CAA has said that it will not be implementing STS for the foreseeable future;
  • CAA announces further delay to the start of the 2020/21 Scheme of Charges.

Commercial drone pilots are reminded that there will be no price hike for Standard Permission applications or renewals – as the CAA announces a further delay to its new Scheme of Charges.

In a SkyWise alert issued earlier this week, the Civil Aviation Authority said that it was pushing back the start date of the 2020/21 fees for a second time, due to the coronavirus.

Having initially been halted until June 30, the updated list of charges has now been scheduled to start at the end of September – however, this will be kept under constant review.

The CAA’s recent announcement is a timely opportunity to remind commercial drone pilots that there will be no price change for standard PfCO-style applications, covering the 2020/21 period.

Defined as Specific category – Operational Authorisation – Pre-defined Risk Assessment (PDRA), it relates to operations which are covered by Standard Permissions, ie VLOS operations within congested areas.

It means that the cost of this type of application to the CAA will remain at £253, while a renewal will stay at £190.

The cost for an application for a permission to fly a large model aircraft also remains unchanged, staying at £59 for a three-year authorisation. The only change is that the weight of a large model aircraft has increased from over 20kg to 25kg and over.

Commercial drone operators should also be aware that they will not be required to pay a charge for STS (standard scenario) applications.

While the 2020/21 Scheme of Charges sets out a £127 application fee for this type of request, the CAA has said that this will not impact UK drone pilots for the foreseeable future, because STS’ will not become applicable until December 2021, and until the effects of Brexit are known, the UK will not be implementing STS and operators should not consider their use any further.

Here is a table showing the charges for drone operators in the Scheme of Charges 2020/21. The document will be reviewed again in April 2021.

Application TypeInitial ChargeRenewal Charge
Specific Category – Operational Authorisation with Operating Safety Case/Risk Assessment£1,771 (Case 1)
£1,012 (Case 2 – For certain conditions as specified in CAP722)
Specific Category – Operational Authorisation – Pre-defined Risk Assessment (ie Standard Permissions)£253£190
Specific Cateogry – Operational Authorisation – Large Model Aircraft (25kg or greater)£59N/A
Specific Category – Standard Scenario Declaration£127N/A
Specific Category – Light UAS Certificate £5,060£1,771
Specific Category – Cross-border Operation Within the UK£380N/A
Special UAS Projects (involving additional operational support from CAA)£1,771N/A
Issue Of Duplicate Operational Authorisation£83N/A
CAA Advice And Guidance£253 an hourN/A
Technical Changes/Variations To Operational Authorisations£633N/A
Admin Changes£83N/A

For information about UK drone training courses to help you obtain standard permissions, click here.

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