Abu Dhabi: A new UAE law to restrict import and sale of drones will soon be implemented in the UAE due to the growing use of drones in the country, a senior official from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Mohammad Al Dossari, director of air navigation and aerodromes department, said they are working with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology on the new law.
He did not give a time frame on when it will come into effect. “We are working with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology on a law that will have a framework for the UAE on the sale and import of drones. Once the law is implemented, you will have restrictions on the sale and import of drones and only certain sizes of drones will be there in the market,” said Al Dossari while speaking to reporters at the Drones Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi.
Currently drones can be purchased from retailers in Dubai and some other parts of the UAE. However, Abu Dhabi banned the sale of drones last year due to risks posed to the aviation sector.
“It is very important that we provide a safe level of service equal to the business that we manage in the airline. This is a new player that we need to incorporate. The UAE is one of the earliest states that have a regulatory framework in this field.”
“The challenge that we are facing is people are not aware of the requirements. Several incidents have happened in the UAE caused by individuals who are not familiar with our requirements and they fly the drones.”
Dubai airport was closed for more than an hour in June this year due to unauthorised drone activity resulting in delays and flight diversions.
Al Dossari also said they have launched a new mobile app to alert people about the red zone where they are not allowed to use drones.
The authority is also working to reduce the processing time for licence applications in coordination with various departments such as Department of Transport, Ministry of Defence and other air traffic control units in the UAE.
More than 400 drones have been registered with the GCAA, mostly for commercial purposes for use in real estate, agriculture and the oil and gas industry.
Some company delegates who attended the conference complained that the charges for flying drones per day were very high compared with many other countries.
The Ministry of Defence charges Dh2,500 for flying drones per day for commercial purposes but officials from the GCAA hinted that those charges might be reviewed in future.
Guidelines for individual use
1. All drone activities shall take place within the visual line of sight of the user not above 400 feet from ground level (approximately the height of Dubai World Trade Centre) without the use of visual aids, such as binoculars and within the aircraft’s operational range.
2. Fly only during daytime and in good weather conditions
3. Do not fly the drone within five kilometres from any airports, helipads, landing areas or manned aircraft
4. Do not fly near any buildings, houses, private properties or people
5. Fly for fun and not for commercial purposes