Latest developments for drone regulations in Hungary

Hungary

In our Law-Now “Hungary changes rules for drone operations” from 2021, we discussed Act CLXXIX of 2020 on amending certain laws relating to the operation of unmanned aircrafts (i.e. the Drone Act) and outlined the new rules for unmanned aircrafts in Hungary. In this follow-up, we provide a practical summary of the latest developments.

Complete drone legislative package

Since the passage of the Drone Act, two more government decrees have been adopted as part of the legislative package implementing the new rules for drone operation. These are Government Decree 38/2021 (II.2.) on the operation of unmanned state aircraft (the Drone Decree) and Government Decree 29/2021 (II. 2.) on amending certain government regulations on air traffic. The latter amends three related government decrees, including Government Decree 4/1998 (I. 16.) on the use of Hungarian airspace, which plays a central role in the regulatory regime.

Occasional airspace limitations

The new changes further elaborate the procedure for occasional airspace designation requests for drone flights over populated areas. In such cases, the upper limit of the required airspace may be set at a maximum of 120 metres above ground level. Occasional airspace must be requested for every drone except for unmanned toy aircraft (i.e. those that are lighter than 120 grams, and unable to move more than 100 metres away from the operator).

Amended decree No. 4/1998 provides a list of airspace where drone operation is prohibited, such as forbidden airspace or specific airspace near Budapest.

Request submission for occasional airspace

An application for the designation of occasional airspace must be submitted to the military aviation authority at least 30 days before the intended use, using an electronic form established by the military aviation authority and published on its website. The military aviation authority should communicate with the person making the request by electronic means.

In addition to the previous mandatory elements of the request, the requestor must now declare that he is aware of and respects the applicable privacy laws.

Compulsory third-party liability insurance

The new rules introduce the need for compulsory third-party liability insurance for all drone operators. Depending on the maximum take-off mass of the drone, the insurance must cover:

  1. 0.25 kg - 4 kg: at least HUF 3 million (EUR 8,500) per insured event and at least HUF 6 million (EUR 17,000) per insurance period;

  2. 4 kg - 20 kg: at least HUF 5 million (EUR 14,100) per insured event and at least HUF 10 million (EUR 28,200) per insurance period;

  3. more than 20 kg: HUF 10 million (EUR 28,200).

According to the law, liability insurance for drones covers damage caused to third parties, but does not provide for compensation in the event of damage to the drone. Additional insurance to cover damage to the drone is not compulsory, but recommended.

Hungarian Drone Coalition

In addition to regulatory changes, the Hungarian Drone Coalition was established on 4 May 2021 with the mission to develop a long-time drone strategy and to provide a forum for permanent professional cooperation between users (i.e. developers, market players and public actors), as well as academic and professional organisations. Adoption of the Hungarian Drone Strategy is expected to take place by March 2022.

For more information on operating drones and the 2021 Drone Legislation Package, contact your regular CMS client partner or local CMS experts.

Article co-authored by Anna Zsófia Horváth.