The FAA announced two important expansions of its automated drone flight application and airspace approval process for drones—the Low Altitude Authorization and Capability (LAANC) program. The agency added four major airports where the program is now available—Baltimore BWI, Washington Dulles, Houston Hobby, and Newark Liberty. The airports join the list of 400 air traffic facilities covering 600 airports where LAANC is available.
Further, the FAA added seven UAS service providers approved to provide access to LAANC—Airspacelink, Avision, Botlink, Collins Aerospace, Drone Up, Simulyze, and Skygrid—bringing the total number of approved UAS service providers to 21. More than 170,000 authorizations have been approved through LAANC since 2017.
Originally limited to Part 107 pilots, the program was expanded in July to provide near-real-time authorizations to recreational UAS pilots. “The program’s continued expansion further increases the ability of drone pilots to gain safe and efficient access to controlled airspace nationwide,” the FAA said.