Drones – CAP 1361 – PFCO Trends

Current trends of the UK CAA commercial operators with permissions (CAP 1361). Since the UK CAA is currently issuing PFCO List updates at a rate of a few times a month, this trend summary page is updated every couple of updates.

See our searchable extract of the CAP 1361 list here. This list is updated with every CAP 1361 update.


A – The current quantity of operators on the UK CAA PFCO list V88 Dated 3 May 2019 is 5004.

B – The quantity of operators continues to increase overall, with an occasional small drop in numbers between some versions. Since the end of Dec 2018, there has been an increase of 76 operators. This time last year for the same period we saw an increase of 533 operators.

C – Indications are that less than 25% of current PFCO owners have been registered for longer than 2 years. Indicating a high level of turnover of operators.

D – At the time of publishing, this list has 380 of those listed already have an expired PFCO expiry date. We would assume that these are “in process” and expected to be current again at some point. There are however 80 expired as at Jan 2019.

E – The numbers of Restricted and Full National Qualified Entities (NQE) has decreased by 3 in April 2019 to 42. See our searchable NQE List here.

The trend in Figures 1 below currently covers 2013 to date and the last CAP1361 imported was V87 Dated 18 Apr 2019.

Figure 1 – Trend Since 2013

Figure 1 above plots the total quantity of operators and the quantity of UK CAA PFCO IDs per list published. There is a magnification of the recent part of the operator quantity trend line.

Although there has been an overall increase of operators from list to list, after V71 there has been a recent reduction in the rate of rise including a drop in numbers for the month of Jan 2019.

The current quantity of operators on the UK CAA PFCO list is 5004. There has only been an overall rise of 76 operators since the start of the year. This is in contrast to this time last year when we saw an increase of 533.

The number of operators continues to increase month on month but the rate of change has slowed, with some issues of the list showing a short term drop in operator quantities.

The last CAA ID on list – #8962 (An increase of 710 CAA ID numbers this year) . This is used as an indication of the quantity of new IDs allocated by UK CAA.

Figure 2 – PFCO Operator Retention

Figure 2 above indicates by percentage and year those on the current CAP 1361 list. This indicates that less then 25% have been registered for longer than 2 years.