What can get drone addicts a fine of Dh1 million in Dubai

Drone users are being warned that they could face fines of up to a million dirhams if they are caught flying their drones in sensitive no-fly zones.

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority has set various no-fly zones and zones with restricted access across the emirate and said anyone who violates the airspace will be warned and penalised.

Fines could range anywhere between Dh500 to Dh100,000 and could even reach a million dirhams, a senior official at DCAA told Emirates 24|7.

“If a similar incident like what happened last year repeats again, then we are speaking about losses that run into several million dirhams. In such cases, expect the fine to be close to a million dirhams,” said Salim Mohamed Bin Salim Al Suwaidi, Aerodrome Senior Inspector, Standards and Regulations Department at DCAA.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the just concluded World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai.

In 2015, a drone entered the airspace close to the Dubai International airport leading to the closure of the airport for 55 minutes, leading to an estimated loss of several million dirhams.

Read: Drone halted air traffic at Dubai International Airport on Friday for 55 minutes

Earlier this month, a British Airways plane was struck by a drone as it was coming in for landing at Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport. The plane, an Airbus A320 with 132 passengers and five crew on board, was on its final descent into Heathrow when it was struck. In a separate incident. A drone flying at more than 2,000 metres altitude came close to an Aer Lingus plane as it approached Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.

Currently the authority is in the process of setting up guidelines and define penalties and educating the drone users.

The DCAA has already set up a series of guidelines and rules for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operated in the Emirate of Dubai.

Among these are guidelines for the specified height, flying over personal property, flying over public gatherings including parks, recreational areas and beaches. Drones equipped with videos require prior approval and videos shot using a drone will also require special permission before it can be used for commercial purpose. A more detailed list will soon be published on the DCAA website.

The DCAA has also announced that it will start issuing new registration cards, similar to those of driving licenses that would be mandatory for all drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) operated in the Emirate of Dubai starting May.

Read: Dubai sets no-fly zones for drones; registration from May

“Our main task at present is to educate the several hundred drone users across the emirate about the dos and don'ts and the new fly zones and what process needs to be followed here," says Al Suwaidi.

Currently, DCAA is in the process of signing an MOU with the Dubai Police towards the implementation of the new regulation.

“We can only set the regulations in place. The enforcement will be the task of the Dubai Police. We will soon be finalising agreements and sign MOUs with various stakeholders to ensure that the guidelines are strictly implemented,” he said.

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