Last month, the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes) (“SCT”) published a Mexican Official Standard (“NOM-107”) establishing requirements to operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (“RPAS” – also known as “UAS” or “drones”) in Mexican air space. NOM-107 classifies RPAS into different categories based on their maximum take-off weight.
Regardless of their classification, RPAS may be operated for (a) recreational, (b) private non-commercial, and (c) commercial use. Operators are required to comply with certain requirements depending on the classification and use of the RPAS. In general terms, all RPAS must be registered before the recently created Federal Civil Aviation Agency (Agencia Federal de Aviación Civil) (“AFAC”), which is charged with enforcing the guidelines to operate RPAS. RPAS used for private non-commercial and commercial purposes must carry civil liability insurance. NOM-107 regulates RPAS for private non-commercial and commercial use differently from RPAS for recreational use. In this sense, NOM-107 provides that all RPAS must be operated in line of sight (known as VLOS); and only RPAS for private non-commercial and commercial use may fly beyond the line of sight (known as BVLOS) and/or perform night flights, which operations are subject to obtaining a one-time authorization from the AFAC. RPAS registered abroad or operated by national foreign may not be operated in Mexico, unless there is a bilateral agreement with such country (except RPAS used for scientific research).
Additionally, certain requirements for manufacturers and assemblers, and for those who intend to import and market RPAS in Mexico. According to the Civil Aviation Law (“CAL”), failing to comply with the CAL and the NOM the AFAC may impose revocation of license, certificate or registration. January 13, 2020, is the entry into force of NOM-107. You may find additional details in the Client Alert we prepared.