Read this before you attempt to take those sweet aerial desert shots…

Last month we reported on the rollout of new laws requiring that drone owners register for a license from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority if they wished to pilot their quadcopters in the Dubai skies.

You can read more about this in detail below, however, we now have new information regarding how these laws will work.

New measures will come into effect next month that will require all registered drone operators to file detailed flight plans for approval if they wish to pilot their crafts in non-secure airspace zones (see map in the original story below).

These measures have been implemented in order to prevent the recurrence of several incidents that took place in 2016 where unregistered drones caused the temporary closure of Dubai International Airport, leading to delays.

Speaking at the World Aviation Safety Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, Mohammad Abdulla Ahi, Director-General of the DCAA said “We are collectively working on it as a state and at the local level. We have to control this, we have to use this, it is very useful,”

Ahi was referring to a new system called the Sky Commander Tracking Programme that will be used by civil aviation authorities in conjunction with the new rules, giving them access to information such as a registered drone’s flying speed, height and flight plans.

Should a drone deviate from its pre-approved flight plan, the tracking system will alerted and the DCAA will contact the operator requesting that the craft be grounded or risk being fined an as yet undisclosed amount.

For more information visit the DCAA website.

Here are the changes from last month…

Drone users caught flying without a valid license could be slapped with a fine of up to Dhs20,000, after the approval of new civil aviation rules.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has rubber-stamped the new penalty, which will see unregistered drone users fined between Dhs1,000 and 20,000.

The rules apply to users flying drones for recreational purposes, as well as those using them for commercial purposes.

Want to fly your drone legally in the UAE? You’ll need to register in order to get a license from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, which is valid for a renewable period of one year.

*Drone no-fly zones set across Dubai*
*Drone halts air traffic at Dubai International for over an hour*

The move comes after a number of close calls at Dubai International Airport over the past year, disrupting flights and costing the UAE economy millions of dirhams.

In October, the airport was closed for more than an hour after a drone entered its airspace, resulting in 22 flights having to be diverted to other airports. The previous month, another drone resulted in the delay of 90 flights.

In June, the airport was yet again brought to a halt due to unauthorised drone activity, resulting in the airport being closed for more than an hour.

At the time it was estimated that for every minute UAE airspace is closed, it costs the economy Dhs3.7 million, The National reported.


Drones are banned from flying within five kilometres of any airport or landing area.

Here is a map of other no-fly zones in Dubai (red means it’s a no-fly zone, green means you need permission from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to fly there):

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook