Spain’s State Agency for Aerial Security, the AESA, has issued a blanket ban on commercial drone use everywhere in the country, reports The Spain Report.
It’s a decision outlined in this five-page memo — because “the use of this type of machine is recent,” the ban was put into effect to “[avoid] misunderstandings and possible incidents.” It’s a reasonable motive, but there’s a weird irony in that this decision totally sells out two multimillion-dollar drone-related projects that were already under way in Spain.
First is the Atlas Experimental Flight Centre, a facility set up specifically for testing unmanned aerial systems. It only opened in March after a €4.5 million investment from the Andalusian government. Second is the €40 million aerodrome project in Doñana National Park, which was seeking to deploy drones weighing nearly 1,500 pounds.
Those looking to use drones for things like aerial photography, surveillance and cartography in Spain now require AESA authorization, but here’s the rub: the AESA “cannot issue said authorizations because there is no legal basis to do so. Using drones for carrying out this kind of work with professional or commercial purposes without authorization is therefore illegal and subject to the imposition of the corresponding sanctions.”