Drone maker DJI has been approved by the The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to authorize drone flights in controlled airspace around airports as part of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) program.

LAANC was established earlier this year by the FAA to facilitate drone operation for professional pilots near approximately 500 airports where commercial drone flights generally require prior authorization. Pilots will be able to receive near-real-time authorization instead of going through a more long-winded and slower process.

The program designates locations within the restricted airspace that can be used safely up to approved altitudes, and monitors temporary flight restrictions and other limits that could affect flight permissions. Drone pilots can use LAANC to check those limits, plan flights and file applications. Applications are processed instantly and LAANC provides flight information to FAA Air Traffic.

“Before LAANC, using drones for productive work near many airports required detailed applications and up to months of waiting, even when the benefits were clear and safety was prioritized. Now, LAANC allows easy drone use in more than 2,000 square miles near airports, including many populated areas that can benefit tremendously from drone operations,” said Brandon Montellato, DJI Program Manager – Enterprise Solutions. “More than 100,000 Part 107-certified drone pilots will now be able to perform valuable work – from inspections and surveys to filming and photography – with near-instant approval.”

DJI is one of 9 new companies and organisations that have been authorized by the FAA after a rigorous testing and validation process. The others are Aeronyde, Airbus, AiRXOS, Altitude Angel, Converge, KittyHawk, UASidekick, and Unifly.

Thanks to the approval DJI can now allow customers to apply for LAANC approvals via their DJI accounts to plan flights. The company says it will provide more information on how the process will be integrated into its products lineup in the near future.