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UAE plans to ban import of drones

The UAE is developing new standards for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and will ban the import of any that do not meet the rules, Arabian Business has reported.08 Mar 2017

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is working with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology on the standard, which will cover the range and functions allowed, GCAA director general Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi told Arabian Business.

"We are also in talks with the customs department. We [will] stop importing those drones which do not comply with our standards," he said.

Al Suwaidi did not tell Arabian Business when the new standard will be released, the news site said.

The UAE is looking into the possibility of 'geo-fencing', where GPS or RFID technology is used to create a virtual geographic boundary to restrict where drones can fly, but must ensure it will not affect other aircraft, he said.

"We are studying the technology and how it would affect the normal aviation activities. We are not sure how it will work as it may affect the navigation systems of the aeroplanes. So it is too early to use it," Al Suwaidi said.

The UAE already has regulations on the use of drones, with three years in jail or a fine of AED100,000 ($27,000) for using a drone over a prohibited zones such as Dubai International Airport, Al Maktoum Airport, the Al Minhad air base and the Palm Jumeirah near Skydive Dubai, Arabian Business said.

The UK's Civil Aviation Authority issued guidelines in 2015 to recreational drone users in the UK, reminding them to fly "safely and legally" and not use cameras within 50 metres of people, buildings or vehicles. It recently closed a public consultation on proposed changes to the regulation.