LAANC by the Numbers: 21 Suppliers, 600 Airports, 170,000 Authorizations
BY Isabella Lee17 December 2019
One of the fastest ways to get permission to fly a drone in controlled airspace is to submit an authorization request through the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system. LAANC’s coverage has dramatically increased since the kick-off of its nationwide expansion in April 2018.
The result — drone pilots can get approval to operate in controlled airspace faster and in more locations than previously possible.
Through LAANC, air traffic professionals and UAS Service Suppliers exchange data with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and provide drone pilots with access to controlled airspace at or below 400 feet. Learn how to get drone flights approved with LAANC here.
LAANC by the Numbers: Nearly 600 Airports Covered
When the FAA first committed to expanding LAANC, their goal was to implement coverage at about 300 air traffic control facilities across approximately 500 airports throughout the U.S. The FAA nearly met its goal in September 2018, as the final installment of LAANC went live at 288 air traffic control facilities and 470 airports.
Compare those numbers to now, and you have an encouraging picture of drones becoming more and more integrated into the airspace.
Today, LAANC is available at approximately 400 air traffic facilities covering about 600 airports (595 airports to be exact). That means LAANC’s coverage has increased by 27% in just over a year.
The most recent airports to join the list include Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Dulles International Airport, William P. Hobby Airport in Houston and Newark Liberty International Airport.
LAANC by the Numbers: 21 UAS Service Suppliers
Drone pilots obtain access to LAANC through FAA-approved UAS Service Suppliers. Some of the most popular suppliers include AirMap, Kittyhawk, and Skyward.
The seven companies listed below are the latest to enter into partnerships with the FAA, bringing the total number of suppliers to 21.
- Collins Aerospace
- Drone Up
Through apps and software provided by these suppliers, drone pilots can expedite the time it takes to receive authorizations. Prior to LAANC, the standard wait time for airspace authorizations was 90 days and the only way to request permission was a manual process through the FAADroneZone. With LAANC, drone pilots can receive authorization within minutes.
LAANC by the Numbers: 170,000 Approved Authorizations
As of December 2019, the FAA has reported granting more than 170,000 airspace authorizations through LAANC.
Most of the approvals were given to certified commercial drone pilots. There are over 120,000 certified commercial drone pilots, and that number continues to grow. We are seeing drones being used in new applications and more drone job opportunities becoming available as drone pilots are given more freedom in the types of operations they’re able to perform.
LAANC was expanded in July to provide airspace authorizations to recreational flyers as well. We don’t know how many of the 170,000 authorizations were for recreational flyers; however, we imagine they only make up a small percentage given that LAANC became available to them only a few short months ago.
For both recreational and commercial drone pilots, LAANC’s expansion is good news. It further increases the ability of drone pilots to gain safe and efficient access to controlled airspace nationwide. Have you used LAANC in your drone operations? How was your experience? Share with us on our community forum.