24th March 2020

Today the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) released details of measures specifically being undertaken to support the drone sector during the COVID-19 crisis. AAUS strongly supports CASA in these initiatives, and will continue to work closely with the regulator, and Government more broadly, to find more ways to alleviate the impact COVID-19 has on the drone industry.

The extenuating situation of COVID-19 has put significant pressure on the entire aviation industry. Last week AAUS made a submission to the Deputy Prime Minister’s proposed relief package for the Australian Aviation Industry highlighting ways in which the Government can support the drone sector. You can read AAUS’ submission here.

Today, CASA released details of a number of measures intended to support the industry here.

President of AAUS, Dr Reece Clothier welcomed the response, “It is great to see quick action from the Government and CASA in support of the drone industry – an important growth sector of Australian aviation,” he said.

AAUS acknowledges that some training providers may be disadvantaged by the postponement of the MoS compliance deadline. These concerns have been shared with CASA but we agree with CASA that on balance the majority of industry will only see benefit as a result of these measures. AAUS is still supportive of the objective of the MoS to raise the standard of training provision in Australia.

Whilst there is a critical need for short term industry support, Dr Clothier also highlighted the need for more strategic measures, “we need to ensure the drone sector survives what could be a sustained period of disruption – one way is to find new revenue opportunities to allow the industry to better support itself in what will be very challenging economic conditions.”

With this in mind, AAUS is continuing to work with CASA and the Government to identify additional short and long term strategies to support the drone industry. These include further avenues for relief from administrative and cost burdens, and identifying areas for potential regulatory relief that could potentially enable new business opportunities without compromising safety.

AAUS is calling on all of its members to contribute to the development of this industry support strategy. Please contact the Association to share your ideas. AAUS is also organising a webinar with CASA to go through what these measures mean for you and your business – more information to be released shortly.

Dr Clothier emphasised a message of support to the industry, “It is extenuating situations like these that an industry needs a strong association – you can be assured that AAUS is doing everything it can to support its members and the broader sector in what are very challenging times.”