'New drone rules in Dubai needed'

Air traffic at Dubai International Airport was halted for 55 minutes from 3pm on Friday after authorities detected a flying object in the navigation path of airplanes, which was later discovered to be a drone. (Supplied)

The growth in number of drones in Dubai has made it necessary to regulate their use to avoid disasters, Major General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Dubai Police Chief Assistant for Ports Affairs has said.

Use of unmanned aircraft in Dubai’s airspace is prohibited except with prior permission of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, he added.

Maj. Gen. Thani's said this after  air traffic at Dubai International Airport was halted for 55 minutes from 3pm on Friday after authorities detected a flying object in the navigation path of airplanes, which was later discovered to be a drone. Incoming planes were diverted to Al Maktoum Airport for safety.

Major General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Dubai Police Chief Assistant for Ports Affairs said the drone seemed to be controlled from one of the airport’s neighbourhoods.

If the airport’s control tower detects any strange or unfamiliar object moving within three miles of the space allocated for landing and take-off of aircraft, air traffic is halted immediately, Maj. Gen. Thani explained.

UAE citizens and residents also expressed their anxiety about drones flying in air navigation paths, the ‘Emarat Al Youm’ Arabic daily newspaper reported. They felt that rules are necessary to restrict the flying of drones to parks and remote areas.

Maj. Gen. Thani said legal action could be taken against those who misuse drones. Users of drones, especially those with cameras, must avoid violating others’ privacy, he added.

Some people were worried about drones, especially those with camera, flying over villas and private swimming pools, considering it as violation of privacy.

Drones are now widely available in major shopping centres in the UAE at relatively low prices.

‘Emarat Al Youm’ visited stores which sell drones and said they are available in the price range of Dh300 to Dh1600, depending on size and distance which they can fly.

Dubai resident Ali Bou Saeed said he had noticed a large number of these drones flying in recent months. People are worried whether they are fitted with cameras, he added. 

Another resident Zayad Mackie said these drones may be violating the privacy of people living in villas.

Shaima’a Ali called for regulating use of drones, saying it is not acceptable if they are used to spy on others. Their use in residential areas must be banned  and they must be restricted to gardens and remote areas, she added.





 

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