The UAE will require the mandatory registration of commercial and recreational drones from next month in an attempt to prevent use in unsafe and prohibited locations.
Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) director general, Abdulla Abdul Qader Al Maeeni, said traders and suppliers will have three months to comply with the regulation designed to prevent delays to air traffic and deal with privacy concerns.
This followed a number of incidents of drones entering the airspace of airports in recent years, leading to disruption of dozens of flights and costing Dubai carrier Emirates “millions of dirhams”.
Al Maenni said the unsafe use of drones without a licence to disrupt air traffic could reach Dhs350,000 ($95,000) per minute and waste the time of 203 passengers per flight.
New technical requirements will aim to prevent these intrusions and include guidelines for safe operations.
ESMA approved a requirements list in May that included the need for all products to bear explanatory writing and warnings in Arabic and English and the provision of a central mechanism to track any drone in the UAE market or airspace through a serial number.
“All products must be certified by the manufacturer, bearing the factory’s signature and stamp, and include detailed information on the manufacturer’s address, brand, and classification of the purpose of using the drone commercial, industrial, recreational, service,” ESMA said.
Producers and traders will also be required to submit a request for an ESMA product status statement from the beginning of September via the authority’s website.
The new requirements come on top of new regulation introduced in Dubai this year that requires drone operators to purchase an annual licence, with tough penalties for unregistered use.
Consultancy Strategy& said the GCC drone market could be worth $1.5bn by 2022 thanks to growing use in the commercial space.
Regionally, the market for drones is being driven by the oil and gas ($633m), and utilities ($484m) industries — which are projected to constitute 43 per cent and 32 percent of the total respectively, the company said.