Dubai, April 11 (IANS) The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday said it will implement compulsory registration of privately-used drones to ensure safety zones.
Michael Rudolph, head of the authority's Airspace Safety Section, said that with the increase of drone aficionados and due to a number of disruptions near Dubai international airport in recent years, it had become necessary for the Civil Aviation Authority to monitor the activity of private drone users, Xinhua news agency reported.
An online registration scheme for buyers of drones has already been rolled out "and before the end of May, we plan to reach an agreement with the Dubai Economic Department, which will make a registration of drone buyers by Dubai-based retail stores compulsory", he said.
In addition, any buyer will have to undergo a training course which enables him to steer a drone safely "or he will have to prove that he has the right experience and skills by going through a practical and theoretical evaluation process. It's like obtaining a driving licence", explained Rudolph, a former officer of the South African Air Force.
In 2016, Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest airport in relation to international passengers, had to shut down flight operations for several hours four times due to illegal drone activity near the take-off and landing tracks.
Asked if the drone taxi for transporting a single passenger which Dubai plans to launch in July this year will be part of the scheme, Rudolph told Xinhua "our department is involved in this. If the drone taxi comes, it would be a first for Dubai".
The self-flying human-size drone taxi, produced by the Chinese manufacturer Ehang, was presented to the public by the Dubai transport authority RTA at the World Government Summit in Dubai earlier in February this year.
"There will be only autonomous flights on pre-programmed trips from point A to point B within Dubai, for example from the Burj Al Arab to Atlantis Hotel on the man-made island Palm Jumeirah. The passenger will not have the power to steer the drone taxi," said Rudolph.