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Sat 8 Apr 2017 10:15 AM

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Dubai summit to address safety issues posed by drones

World Aviation Safety Summit to tackle growing concerns about impact of drones on the aviation industry

Dubai summit to address safety issues posed by drones

A summit is to address growing concerns about the impact of drones on the aviation industry after the devices has forced the closure of airspace in Dubai on more than one occasion.

As drones continue to increase in number and popularity around the world, the aviation industry is working to address the challenges they bring and ensure safety is maintained.

This will be one of a number of topics that will be under examination at the World Aviation Safety Summit, which will take place in Dubai on April 11-12.

Locally, drones have also caused some disruption in Dubai Airspace. Dubai International Airport was closed for more than hour on October 29 last year when a drone entered its airspace, leading to 22 inbound flights being diverted. Drones are now prohibited within 5km of UAE airports.

Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, director general at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said: “It is important that we continue to educate our citizens on the rules around drones to ensure maximum safety in our airspace.

"Regulations and procedures are helping to minimise the dangers and we are working with industry stakeholders to continue addressing the challenges that drones bring. The World Aviation Safety Summit will be the perfect platform to propose new measures and agree on improved ways of keeping airspaces safe and secure.”

Each month, pilots and air traffic controllers report more than 100 drone sightings to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has been compiling and issuing reports on these encounters. The FAA says such reports have increased since 2014, with more than 1,200 incidents in the US last year.

As a result of these incidents, regulators have been working on formulating rules for how to incorporate commercial drone operations into airspace and trying to inform hobbyists about the dangers that drones can bring. 

From January 2013 to June 2016, 856 reports from seven official sources were found through International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) research on drones, with one suspected and one confirmed collision included.

Drones were reported to be as low as 15 feet and as high as 38,000 feet. IATA has been working closely with ICAO on the topic of safety and drones and has called for states to make citizens aware of what is safe usage of drones.

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