India’s airspace map for drone operations released by the aviation ministry

The central government on Friday, September 24 released India’s airspace map for drone operations under the collective vision of an ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. “The drone airspace map comes as a follow-through of the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021 released by the government on August 25, the PLI (Production Linked Incentive) scheme for drones released on September 15 and the Geospatial Data Guidelines issued on February 15,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation stated in a release.

All these policy reforms will catalyze super-normal growth in the upcoming drone sector, it added.

The Ministry also said, “Given its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, frugal engineering and its huge domestic demand, India has the potential of becoming a global drone hub by 2030.”

Features of drone airspace maps and different zones explained by Aviation Ministry:

Green Zone

Its zone is the airspace up to 400 feet that have not been designated as a red or yellow zone and up to 200 feet above the area located between 8-12 km from the perimeter of an operational airport. In green zones, no permission whatsoever is required for operating drones with an all-up weight up to 500 kg.

Yellow zone

It is the airspace above 400 feet in a designated green zone; above 200 feet in the area located between 8-12 km from the perimeter of an operational airport and above ground in the area located between 5-8 km from the perimeter of an operational airport.

Drone operations in the yellow zone require permission from the concerned air traffic control authority – AAI, IAF, Navy, HAL etc. The yellow zone has been reduced from 45 km earlier to 12 km from the airport perimeter.

This is the snippet of the drone airspace map. We can clearly see Red and Yellow zones here.

Red zone

The red zone is the ‘no-drone zone’ within which drones can be operated only after permission from the Centre.

The Ministry further mentioned that the airspace map may be modified by authorized entities from time to time.

“Anyone planning to operate a drone should mandatorily check the latest airspace map for any changes in zone boundaries,” it added.

The map can be viewed on aviation regulator DGCA’s digital sky platform.

The New Drone Rules

The New Drone Rules or the liberalised Drone Rules 2021 were released by the Central Government on August 25 followed by the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drones on September 15 and the Geospatial Data Guidelines on February 15. These policy reforms are expected to further catalyse super-normal growth in the upcoming drone sector. 

Adding to it, the drones will provide numerous benefits to the economy as they will be utilised for agricultural, mining, infrastructure, emergency purposes, transportation, defence, law enforcement, and many more. One of the major highlights of its inclusion will be its reach to even the most remote and inaccessible areas.

Talking about its investment, the drone industry may witness an investment of more than INR 5,000 crore over the upcoming three years. Also, the annual sales turnover will grow in the current fiscal year and is estimated to cross more than INR 900 crore in the next financial year. Furthermore,  it will also provide over 10,000 employment opportunities for people in the industry. 

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