Jordi Company, one of the professional drone operators. | Miquel A. Cañellas


According to Jordi Company, president of the Balearic association of drone operators (Abodron), there are currently some 500 drones in the Balearics for which there is no control by any relevant authority.

The absence of control seems set to change because of new regulations being adopted by the national ministry of development (which has responsibility air transport and air activity).

The use of drones has increased dramatically in recent years. In the Balearics there are 112 registered professional operators. Their work includes filming and photography, aerial advertising and surveillance. Company says that there are strict limitations on drones in terms of privacy law. Regardless of the levels of control and security demanded, he hopes that the ministry's new regulations will create order in the business and remove illegalities.

The regulations will, despite privacy legislation, allow drones to be used in urban areas and where there are large numbers of people. Drones will also be able to fly at night and be used for airport purposes. At present, drones cannot go within sixteen kilometres of Palma's Son Sant Joan Airport.

Abodron is part of a national federation which liaises with the Spanish Air Safety Agency (which falls under the ministry of development). Abodron wants to ensure drone legal practice and further professionalisation of operators who offer advice to companies that want to use drones. These operators have to be registered with the agency and they have to abide by safety and security procedures that the agency has established. They also have to have the necessary insurance, with third-party cover up to 300,000 euros.

The drones that the professionals use can cost around 13,000 euros. There are others that cost around a quarter of this.