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Portuguese drone law in final stage of preparation

Staff Writer |
The Portuguese government said it is in the “final stage of preparation” of the law that requires drones to be registered, makes civil liability insurance mandatory and outlines fines for people who use drones outside the law.

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“The law is in the final stage of preparation, after the period of public consultation, in which many relevant contributions were received,” the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure said in a response sent to Lusa News Agency.

The draft law to establish registration and compulsory civil liability insurance applicable to drones (unmanned aircraft) was in public consultation between August and October, and received 70 comments, mainly from individuals, according to Portugal’s National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).

In October, the civil aviation regulator said that after analysing the contributions received, it would send a report to the Government with the result of the public consultation and the conclusions and potential amendments to the draft bill.

The law will make it compulsory to register drones and take on civil liability insurance for unmanned aircraft weighing 250 grams or more.

“The text of the law is based on the proposals for European regulations recently put forward by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and already reflects the contributions made by [airport manager] ANA in the consultation with the aeronautical community, security forces, and drone operator associations, among others,” the Ministry said in August.

The bill also outlines that minors under 16 years of age “cannot operate” drones weighing 900 grams or more “unless accompanied and supervised by an adult,” along with compulsory registration and civil liability insurance.

On 13 January last year, ANAC regulations banned the flight of these aircraft at heights of over 120 metres and in airports’ approach and take-off areas, but the successive incidents with drones in the vicinity of Portuguese airports led the regulator and the Government to move ahead with specific legislation.

Despite this, the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure makes a “positive assessment” of the ANAC regulation.

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