Building  Owners  and  Managers  Association  International

Building Owners and Managers Association International

Debate Over FAA Reauthorization Drones On

On March 10, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on the economic impact of easing federal restrictions on commercial drone use. According to the president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, companies operating drones represent 35 industries, account for nearly 1.2 million jobs and contributed $900 billion to U.S. economy in 2015. This includes the commercial real estate industry, which uses drones for security purposes, to conduct land surveys and to take pictures for property listings. However, commercial drone use is still forbidden by the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and companies wishing to use drones for business purposes need to apply for a Section 333 exemption. By holding the hearing, Congress signaled its desire to incorporate drone use into the U.S. economy in a way that is both safe for the public and profitable for businesses.

Funding for the FAA is due to expire at the end of March. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed a long-term FAA extension last week that included new amendments related to drones, but Senate leaders felt they needed more time to debate the merits of the bill and opted instead to join with the House of Representatives to grant the FAA a short-term extension until July. More information can be found on the committee’s website.

BOMA recently passed a policy position on the issue of drones, which can be found on the BOMA International website.​