The drone economy will create 1,000 additional jobs and achieve a gross turnover of 408.9 million euros per year by 2020, on condition that Belgium “does not miss the boat”, according to a study released on Tuesday by PwC consulting company and the technological industry federation Agoria. With an expected turnover of 176.3 million euros, infrastructure should be the sector benefitting most from the development of drones, ahead of defence, media, security, transport, logistics and agriculture.
“Legislation stimulates innovation,” warned PwC’s Floris Ampe. “Let’s move on to an environment based on Belgian legislation,” Agoria CEO Marc Lambotte urged.
Europe will have new legislation on drones in early 2019. The study’s authors see this as an opportunity to “do some catching up if the authorities can incorporate the European rules quickly”. This rapid incorporation of the European regulations into Belgian law would make it possible to clarify the situation for the sector and thus foster innovation. It would also favour the free circulation of drones across borders and the introduction of a European driver’s license.
Mobility Minister François Bellot and Belgocontrol, which is in charge or air traffic in Belgium, say they have been working with the various actors in this regard. “I have a double policy priority,” said Minister Bellot, “making the process more effective and best preparing ourselves for the European rules announced for this year.”
An Internet site called droneguide.be has been launched. On it, users can see the areas where drone flights are controlled and those where they can enjoy more freedom. A mobile version will be launched in June, followed in September by an interface dedicated to professionals.