The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to finalize an all new set of laws for the heavy regulation of sale and operation of “Drones” in the country. The UAE government is aiming to minimize the dangers posed by altered aerial vehicles, an executive at the aviation regulator said on Monday, 26th September 2016. Dubai International Airport had been shut for more than an hour on 12th June due to some unauthorized drone activity in its surrounding airspace. This ultimately had resulted in losses of millions of dollars for the economy.
“Several incidents have happened so to integrate drones safely into the commercial airspace is the greatest challenge,” Mohammed Faisal al-Dossari, Director, Air Navigation and Aerodromes Department, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), said.
At a regional conference about drones in the UAE capital, al Dossari also told that the current regulations in the UAE which were introduced in April 2015, mainly relate to the commercial licensing & approving of how companies use drones. And these laws have been under constant development.
What officials say regarding the operation of drones?
He also added that the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) is working to accomplish such laws that will create a suitable framework for UAE to import, make sales of the drones and for their best performance.
Last year in the month of March, Abu Dhabi had forbidden the sale of recreational drones until new laws were issued. The new laws will focus on the air-worthiness of heavier drones, the standards for pilotless aircraft and will also focus on pilot training among other issues.
Mostly commercial, but at least 400 drones are registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). Drones employed in the UAE are utilized for several commercial operations like security surveillance, mapping, wildlife as well as environmental surveys, transportation, agricultural and maritime purposes, and many others.
On the other side, Gulf Area Manager at IATA, the global body of airlines, Michael Herrero also said that UAE’s airspace is really congested. It is a regional aviation hub with two of the most active and busiest airports in the whole world. With these drones becoming such increasingly relevant, there may also be safety and security risks.
Hence, the big question is how to integrate the drones into the commercial airspace in future. Governments would need to put this on the higher agenda with enforceable legislation.