Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior will launch the second phase of its awareness campaign on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on Sunday.
Drone enthusiasts who flout regulations will be fined Dh50,000 and/or jailed for three years, officials have said.
So far, 4,100 drone users have been registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), a top official said on Saturday, adding that before the campaign started last year, only 561 drones were approved and registered.
The awareness drive titled ‘You Are Responsible’ was launched last year to educate people about the rules and regulations governing drones.
Major-General Dr Ahmad Nasser Al Raisi, Inspector General at the ministry, said the drive would educate drone users and ensure the safety and security of the community.
“As per the rules, drone users are not allowed to operate within the five-kilometre radius of airports, and in crowded residential communities and sporting areas,” Dr Al Raisi said.
Saif Mohammad Al Suwaidi, director-general of the GCAA, said: “Before the campaign started, the authority had registered only 561 drones. The number has now reached 4,100 after the rules were enacted last year. The number of air space violations by drone users has also dropped significantly during this period,” he said. Once a person registers, he/she agrees to certain guidelines and rules and they will be trained to operate the drones so that they don’t fly in prohibited areas like near airports and near or over palaces, the authority said.
“Now the community is also aware that the indiscriminate and erroneous use of UAVs around airports is a threat to the safety of aircraft and passengers and disrupts air traffic in the country. Such interruptions lead to the loss of millions of dirhams,” Al Suwaidi said.
Violators will be fined Dh50,000 and/or jailed for three years. The civil Aviation Law of 1991 clearly states that anyone who endangers lives of people or property will be penalised and imprisoned.