Dubai's new drones law will attract businesses and strengthen the aviation sector's standing globally

Government regulations to monitor drones will attract new specialised companies to the emirate

The massive growth of e-commerce in recent months has led to demand for easier and faster deliveries with drones becoming a viable form of delivery. Pawan Singh / The National
The massive growth of e-commerce in recent months has led to demand for easier and faster deliveries with drones becoming a viable form of delivery. Pawan Singh / The National

Dubai's new law regulating the city's commercial drone network will help open up new business opportunities and strengthen the emirate's aviation sector, the chairman of the Dubai Aviation City Corporation said.

"DACC and its affiliated corporations are playing an integral role in creating a supportive environment for businesses in this sector as part of Dubai’s broader transformation into the world’s smartest city," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement on Sunday. "As a future-ready city, Dubai is on track to becoming an international centre for drone manufacturing, smart transport, and innovation in air transport."

On Saturday, Dubai announced the first steps towards creating a commercial drone network for the delivery of packages and the transport of passengers. An initial framework has been drawn up that includes laws and regulations for the Dubai Sky Dome project.

The new law regulating unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial and government purposes will help attract investment to Dubai's aviation industry, the government statement said. It will pave the way to attract international drone companies and bring expertise to the city, especially in Dubai South’s aerospace platform, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub.

Logistics and e-commerce companies in Dubai South will benefit from the law, which provides a clear legal framework for transporting goods and packages using drones, the statement said.

Dubai South offers benefits such as free-zone status for companies specialising in UAVs to establish a base in the emirate and tap into other markets in the region.

The growth of this sector will "revolutionise" many industries and open new avenues in transportation of goods and passengers, design and manufacturing, delivery services, drone-related education and training, and research and development, it said.

Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) will be responsible for designing and supervising the construction of drone airports for the government’s use, including related facilities and infrastructure.

DAEP is also the designated government arm authorised to approve engineering designs related to private drone airports and issue completion certificates for such airports.

"The legal framework created by the law will provide a solid foundation for e-commerce and logistics companies to take advantage of innovation in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles," the statement said. "This will support the strategy behind EZDubai, the purpose-built e-commerce zone in Dubai South, which is set to become a major hub for e-commerce and innovation."

The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted UAE consumer habits, spurring a preference for shopping online and boosting e-commerce businesses. Currently, 68 per cent of respondents surveyed in the UAE are shopping less at physical stores since the coronavirus outbreak began and 49 per cent are shopping more online, according to a study by Visa, Dubai Police and Dubai Economy.

The new drones law clarifies responsibilities related to the governance of drone activities and their permitted commercial, government, recreational, research and educational uses, as well as their registration process.

It also outlines guidelines for drone operations and their operators, infrastructure development related to drones-- including airports, permitted fly zones, airspace design and management and air paths for drones-- permitted altitudes for drones activities, and protection of data gathered by drones.

Published: July 5, 2020 03:27 PM


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