Flying drones in Dubai is about to get trickier as authorities set rules in response to an incident that cost the Dubai economy Dhs202 million…

Four drone no-fly zones have been set in Dubai, with technology meaning people won’t actually be able to start drones in these areas. The authorities have also established nine areas that require a particular registration process before you can fly a drone there.

In fact, those who wish to fly drones anywhere in the city will have to go through a registration process, signing themselves up as either a government entity, hobbyist, commercial user, a professional or as a visitor.

For a hobbyist’s license, the cost for registration is Dhs50, however for commercial users, registration will set you back Dhs500. Registered users will receive different coloured identification cards that they can show to authorities.

The new designated no fly zones can be seen in the below picture, with red being completely off limits and green requiring DCAA permission:

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Once registered, if you wish to film, the desired area for filming will have to be assessed, which can take anywhere from a few hours to three days.

When asked about any previous circumstances where drones had entered no-fly zones, Michael Rudolph, Head of Aviation Regulations and Safety, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) mentioned an incident from Dubai International Airport in 2015, saying, “I don’t know if you recall last year, we had a drone incursion for one day that caused us to close the airspace for 55 minutes. So you can do a simple calculation at USD$1 million (Dhs3.67 million) per minute – that’s what it cost the economy of Dubai. We can’t afford to have that again, and that’s why we started with the process of registration.”

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Speaking to media at the World Aviation Safety Summit on what would happen if someone tried to fly inside no-fly zones, Rudolph added, “We’ve actually developed magnetic blanketing with [drone brand] DJI, and if you have a drone that is either manufactured by DJI or is navigated by the means of GPS, you will not be able to start it.”

While no punishments have been set for drone users who fly within no-fly zones, the DCAA have said, “We are drawing up a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Police to decide what the penalty and reprimand will be for those who fly within a red zone.”

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The DCAA is also in talks with Sanad Air Academy so that they can provide drone users looking to register with the relevant training and assessment before the drone can be registered.

Photo: Getty