24 Jamaica

Diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles – green (top and bottom) and black (hoist side and fly side). Green represents hope, vegetation, and agriculture, black reflects hardships overcome and to be faced, and yellow recalls golden sunshine and the island’s natural resources.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Jamaican Curry Goat with rice and peas.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Jamaica is a member of ICAO and JARUS.
Last updated on April 15, 2024


According to Britannica, under the Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council of 1962, by which the island achieved independence from the United Kingdom, Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Citizens at least 18 years of age are eligible to vote. Jamaica has had universal suffrage since 1944.

The prime minister, who is head of government, is appointed by the leading political party from its parliamentary members. The British monarch, who is titular head of state, follows the prime minister’s recommendation in appointing a Jamaican governor-general who has largely ceremonial powers. The principal policy-making body is the cabinet, which consists of the prime minister and at least 11 other ministers.

The bicameral parliament consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 63 members, who are directly elected. The speaker and deputy speaker are elected by the House from its members. The Senate has 21 members, who are appointed by the governor-general—13 in accordance with the advice of the prime minister and eight on the advice of the leader of the opposition party. Senators are appointed for the duration of a single parliamentary term. The president and deputy president of the Senate are elected by its members. General elections must be held at least once every five years, and the governing party may choose to hold early elections.

The legal system is based on English common law. The highest court in the Jamaican legal system is the Court of Appeals. It hears appeals from the Resident Magistrates’ Courts, which include the Family Courts, the Kingston Traffic Court, Juvenile Courts, and a division of the Gun Court. The Court of Appeals also handles appeals from the Supreme Court, the country’s highest trial court. The governor-general, on the advice of a Jamaican Privy Council, may grant clemency in cases involving the death penalty; occasionally such cases are referred to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. According to human rights organizations, the judicial system is overburdened, with long delays before trials and with prison conditions characterized by overcrowding, insufficient food supplies and funding, and occasional brutality.

The island is divided into 14 parishes, two of which are amalgamated as the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, generally corresponding to the Kingston metropolitan area. Parish councils, whose members are directly elected, administer the other parishes. The capitals of some parishes have elected mayors. Jamaica is also traditionally divided into three counties, Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

On April 1, 1947, Jamaica established the Civil Aviation Department (CAD). Its purpose was to ensure the compliance of all air operators with international and local rules and regulations. The main objective was to ensure the safe and expeditious flow of air traffic within Jamaica’s airspace. The need to transform the CAD from a Civil Service agency to a statutory entity was necessary for modernizing the Department and keeping apace with the growth of civil aviation locally and worldwide. The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) was, therefore, established by the Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act 1995. The Authority became operational on May 6, 1996.


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ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Jamaica AIP (to view you need to create a user name and password).

Drone Regulations

Drone Laws

In order to ensure the safe operation of UAs within the Jamaican air space, operators must observe the guidelines established by the JCAA. These guidelines, which are outlined on their official website, apply to all categories of operators, including:

Recreational UA operators or Hobbyists – Persons who operate model aircraft or UAs for recreational purposes.

Professional (commercial & non-commercial) operators –  persons or companies which operate UAs for non-recreational purposes, including business-related activities such as, but not limited to, aerial photography, surveillance, geometric surveys, power line inspections, crop observations and research and development. Note that the latter require Special Aerial Work Permits, which are granted by the JCAA, subject to the operator/s meeting specific criteria.

Download FSN-GN-2015-01:R3 Operations of Unmanned Aircraft to learn more about the Flight Safety Notification for UA Operators.


Height and Airspace Requirements

Unmanned Aircraft shall not be operated:

  • at a height exceeding 400 feet (122 meters)above ground level.
  • beyond a maximum range of 1640 feet (500 meters).
  • at a distance beyond the unaided visual range of the operator(s) of the aircraft.
  • using a First-Person View (FPV)or computer-aided visual of the UA.
  • over or within 500 feet (152 meters)of an organized open-air assembly of people.
  • over or within 165 feet (50 meters)of any person. However, during take-off and landing, the aircraft may be flown within 165 feet (50 meters),but no less than 100 feet (30 meters)of any person. These stipulations do not apply to the person in control of the aircraft.
  • over a private or public property or dwelling, without prior permission.
  • within or over restricted or prohibited airspace.
  • within 16,500 feet (5,000 meters)of any aerodrome or rotorcraft designated landing zones, such as helipads.

Conditions for flight

Unmanned Aircraft shall not be operated:

  • if not equipped with fail-safe mechanisms that will cause the aircraft to land in the event of a loss of radio control communications and the person in charge of the aircraft has been satisfied that the mechanisms are in good working order before flight.
  • if the aircraft has not been verified as being able to complete its intended flight, taking into consideration the payload, wind, and propulsive power availability for the duration of the flight.
  • autonomously or on pre-programmed automatic flights.
  • at night or during low visibility conditions.
  • with the intention of dropping or discharging any items to the ground.

Further Guidelines for the Safe Operation of UAs

Flights must be conducted:

  • within the operator’s visual line of sight (VLOS).
  • clear of all visual obstructions, including clouds, buildings, hills, etc.
  • without a first-person view device.
  • safely and without recklessness.
  • at safe distances away from all obstacles.

For further information, please contact the Flight Safety Division of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority at 876 960-3948or email uavrequests@jcaa.gov.jm.


All professional operators must apply to the JCAA for a Special Aerial Work Permit before each flight.

All entities or persons wishing to operate a UA, as referenced in this paragraph:

  • Shall apply to the JCAA in writing for approval, providing all details of the intended operation.
  • Shall not fly the aircraft, unless written permission has been received from the Authority, stating any applicable restrictions or conditions.
  • Having received approval, the professional operator must observe and comply with all the conditions included in the permit, in order to exercise the authority provided to operate a UA.


  1. The application letter must be sent via email to uavrequests@jcaa.gov.jm, followed by a physical copy to the following address:

Mr. Nari Williams-Singh

Director General

Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority

4 Winchester Road

Kingston 10.

Attention: Inspectors with responsibility for UAs

2. In the letter, which must be dated and signed, state the following:

  • Name of the Accountable Person to be named in the Permit
  • Location and dates for the permit of flight
  • Make and serial number of the drone
  • Pilots name and contact information
  • The requested height for the drone to be flown (not above 400ft AGL)
  • The duration/ Time of the UA operation
  1. The Company is to have Liability Insurance for the UA of no less than US$100,000.
  2. The application needs to be made at least three working days’ before the intended flight.*

* The working days’ notice enables us to prepare NOTAM’s (Notice to Airmen) to the Aviation community in respect of UA operations near to airports, helipads and aircraft flight path. These NOTAM’s have to be disseminated prior to the planned UA operation.

NOTE: Requests for drone operations within Prohibited and Restricted Airspace will require up to 14 working days prior notice.

For further information, please contact the Flight Safety Division of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority at 876 960-3948 or email  uavrequests@jcaa.gov.jm.



Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone in Jamaica.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.






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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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