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Flying in the port area

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Drones may be used more widely in the future, provided safety is guaranteed. To enable wider applications, in the coming years airspace will be prepared in stages for autonomous flying, flying over cities, port and industrial areas, carrying packages and eventually unmanned flying with cargo and passengers.

The Port Authority is working with government and market parties to organise the airspace above the port in such a way that the possibilities can be used safely and quickly.

Avy drone on Maasvlakte 2

Request flight area

UAV permit holders in the specific category can use the port airspace in just a few steps. This applies to the area that we have designated as the test area for U-Space Airspace; Europoort/Maasvlakte (outside the CTR).

Steps for using the U-Space prototype airspace

1. Operational Authorization from ILT (only in Dutch).
2. Request flight area at the VLL Airspace Center of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Request your flight area as early as possible and ultimately the day before flights. Define your 4D flight area as accurately as possible.
3. When requesting a flight area for the first time, please add your Operational Authorization or LUC to the request airspace form. This also applies in the event of a change in the OA.
4. Cancellation of flight or flight area; if, for any reason, scheduled and confirmed flights are cancelled, please notify us using the Flight Cancellation form. The airspace is thus released for other users.

Services after submitting form

The area request and cancellation forms are a first step in the U-Space service; they allow operators to inform themselves of each other's presence. At the same time, we are working on software integration between operators and the Unmanned Traffic Management system which will eventually make these forms redundant.


Please check this page regularly for changes; for example, the present forms will eventually be replaced by an application that enables fast and convenient interaction with the VLL Airspace Centre. In addition, procedures will also be adapted as we build up experiences in airspace management.

Open category

In the port area, drone flights are not allowed in the open category. The open category is the category not subject to licensing.

See the port area map where these areas are shown.

The zone limits are now included in most drone pre-flight apps. In time, it will become compulsory to program the drone zones into the software of unmanned aerial vehicles. The software makes it impossible for the drones to fly into a restricted zone.

Specific category

For the specific category, a permit is required. Most commercial drone applications fall into this category, which is subject to more stringent requirements such as training and certification. Providers of drone services must analyse the risks and demonstrably reduce them to an acceptable level.

Drone operators are allowed to use a drone in the port if they have received permission from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), based on the risk analysis. The rules and procedures can be found on the Website of ILT.

What these rules and procedures mean for the port area and how to apply for a licence can be found in the document below.

Police flying a drone

Reporting a drone incident

Any nuisance caused by a drone can be reported to the local police. It can take action in the event of a violation or inconvenience caused by a drone. Is there a drone flying over your property, house or residential area? If so, provide the police with as much information as possible about the location, date and time, the drone and the pilot. Take a photo or video if possible. It is important that you report a drone nuisance. For the police to take action. And for the government to get a better overview of incidents involving drones.

If a drone is spotted flying illegally over the port area;

  • Call 112 in case of security issues or an acute security risk
  • Call the police on 0900-8844 or ILT on 088-4890000 if you suspect a violation

A resilient port

Drones offer many opportunities, but they can also be used for less good purposes and involve risks around safety and security. Examples include the use of drones to take unwanted pictures of people, espionage by reading (computer) screens or other industrial espionage, preparation of criminal activities, drug crime, smuggling or possibly even terrorist intentions. We are consulting with a large number of administrative parties regarding protection against these practices in the port.