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Amazon's big drones plans may stay grounded

Amazon Prime Air drone delivery.
Source: Amazon Inc.
Amazon Prime Air drone delivery.

Amazon won't be rolling out drones for delivery anytime soon.

Federal Aviation Administration documents published Monday stated that delivering packages to people for a fee will remain illegal, at least for the time being.

Read More Your Amazon delivery won't arrive by drone anytime soon

Commercial operations of drones have been considered illegal since at least 2007, but earlier this year a federal judge ruled that the FAA enacted regulations illegally because it did not follow proper procedure and get public input before adopting the regulations, according to a Ars Technia report.

The FAA has a deadline of September 15, 2015 to integrate drones into the airspace safely. But industry experts say this is unlikely.

In the FAA's announcement on Monday, which was really aimed at giving guidance for model aircraft operators, the agency did make clear that unmanned aerial vehicles were to strictly be used for recreational purposes.

"Any operation not conducted strictly for hobby or recreation purposes could not be operated under the special rule for model aircraft. Clearly, commercial operations would not be hobby or recreation flights," according to the document.

It also stated that using drones to deliver packages for a fee was also not considered a recreation.

In early December, the e-commerce giant made a big media splash when CEO Jeff Bezos said during a "60 Minute" interview that the company intended to launch a drone delivery program that would carry packages of up to five pounds. However, even Bezos said that the drone program wouldn't happen right away. It could be a reality, though, in as little as five years, he said.

Mary Cummings, a drone expert and associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told CNBC in December that Amazon's drone plans would likely take longer than expected.

"The FAA is way behind the curve," Cummings told CNBC.

However, in late December the FAA did name six states that will develop test sites for drones, which is a critical step in introducing drones to U.S. airspace. These include Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia.

The FAA did not return a call for comment.

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

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