New regulatory standards for commercial, recreational use of drones in UAE

New regulatory standards for commercial and recreational use of drones have been endorsed by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation & Metrology (ESMA), including a surveillance system for detecting unmanned aerial vehicles in the UAE.

Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, chairman of ESMA, said in comments published by state news agency WAM that the new standards envisage a central system to monitor any drone operating in the UAE through a mandatory serial number that has to be used by manufacturers.

Locally, drones have also caused some disruption in Dubai Airspace. Dubai International Airport was closed for more than hour on October 29 last year when a drone entered its airspace, leading to 22 inbound flights being diverted. Drones are now prohibited within 5km of UAE airports.

The new standards are a stepping stone for a nationwide federal database for aerial products, he was quoted as saying.

The new regulations will apply to both recreational and commercial usages, including free zones, he said, noting that both assembled and ready-for-use products have to comply to the new standards.

ESMA said it has developed the new mechanism in collaboration with the General Civil Aviation Administration (GCAA), the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the Federal Customs Authority, the Ministry of Interior and Dubai Police General Command.

The new plan aims to curb "any negative impact on the flow of air traffic and public, private and institutional property", WAM added.​

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