Pay SR250 for a permit, and legally fly your drone in Saudi Arabia

The permit system will also end the black market in drones, with heavily marked-up prices. (SPA)
Updated 14 January 2019

Pay SR250 for a permit, and legally fly your drone in Saudi Arabia

  • Commercial drone permits will cost SR500 and requires completion of a GACA training course
  • Issuance of permit seen to end black market in unmanned aerial vehicles

RIYADH: Saudi drone enthusiasts were celebrating on Sunday after aviation chiefs moved to end confusion over the devices’ legality.

A recreational drone permit will cost SR250, just under $70, the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) said. Applicants require only a national identity card or iqama, and the make and  serial number of the drone.

Commercial drone permits will cost SR500, although applicants must complete a GACA training course.

One permit is required for each drone, but there is no need to apply for further permission to fly it.

Anyone wishing to import a drone must register the serial number on the GACA website to obtain customs clearance. “If the drone is registered, Saudi Customs will allow it into the country, no problem,” GACA said. 

The decision has delighted hobbyists, enthusiasts and commercial drone operators who faced investigation and detention if caught. Several people trying to smuggle drones into the country have had them confiscated by Customs, and foreign journalists and filmmakers were also banned from bringing them into the Kingdom without permission from the Media Ministry.

“There was always a great deal of confusion regarding drone permits,” said Seif, a Saudi filmmaker. “Where you were referred to depended on who you asked and you ended up not flying or flying illegally.” 

The permit system will also end the black market in drones, with heavily marked-up prices. 

The machines are expected to appear soon in stores around the country, at market price.


Saudi air force chief leads Kingdom’s delegation to Dubai

Updated 19 min 4 sec ago

Saudi air force chief leads Kingdom’s delegation to Dubai

RIYADH: Maj. Gen. Turki bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, commander of the Royal Saudi Air Forces (RSAF), has led an armed forces delegation from the Kingdom to the 9th Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference, which kicked off on Nov. 16, and the Dubai Airshow 2019, which will run from Nov. 17-21.

The conference, held under the slogan “Building a more agile and adaptive fighting force: Balancing the high- and low-tech solutions,” was attended by 500 commanders and representatives of European, US, Asian and Arab air forces to discuss the future of the air defense system and explore the latest findings of the military fighter industry.

Conference sessions discussed adopting new air defense technologies, addressing future operational requirements of the air force, training in joint operations for fourth and fifth-generation fighters, transition to multiple air force operations, techniques for the future air combat strategy and fighter requirements for the future, and the future of sensor systems and the establishment of a multi-field command and control system architecture.

The conference was attended by the delegation accompanying Maj. Gen. Turki and military attaché at the Saudi Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Brig. Gen. Abdul Mohsen bin Fahd Al-Sudairi.