On 11 November 2019 the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) approved a new drone regulation which will ease the transition to the EU Basic Regulation (1139/2018), which will apply from July 2020.

Although EU legislation has already outlined a clear picture of the rules that will be definitively operational in the next few years, ENAC's regulation aims to safeguard the prerogatives and rights acquired by operators in the period before the EU drone legislation enters into force.

Pursuant to Article 20 of the Commission Implementing EU Regulation 947/2019, non-homebuilt drones can continue to be used if placed on the market by 1 July 2022 in sub-category A1 (ie, if they have a maximum take-off weight of less than 250g) or category A3 (ie, if they have a maximum take-off weight of less than 25kg).

Article 21 sets out how authorisations issued by EU member states under the respective national regulations can be transferred to new authorisations issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

The authorisations issued to unmanned aircraft system operators, certificates of remote pilot competency and unmanned aircraft system operator authorisations or declarations or equivalent documents issued on the basis of national law will remain in force until 1 July 2021. As of 1 July 2021, EU member states must convert nationally issued certificates in accordance with EU legislation.

In that regard, ENAC's new drone regulation (in strict compliance with the provisions laid down at the EU level), Article 37 of EU Regulation 947/2019 provides that:

certificates obtained on the basis of national regulations maintain their validity until 1st July 2021. If their natural expiry (five years) takes place before that date, the provisions foreseen by Regulation EU No. 947/2019, whose date of application is 1st July 2020, will be applied for the renewal. Should that five-year expiry fall after the 1st July 2021, the certificates will be converted by ENAC with a certification of competency in accordance with the provisions of Regulation EU No. 947/2019.

The new EU legislation will become fully effective a year and a half after July 2021 to grant operators and manufacturers time to get familiar with the new rules.

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