Flight delayed: Despite ministry nod, drones yet to take off due to security concerns

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New Delhi | Published: January 18, 2019 5:08:07 AM

Drones are yet to take off in the domestic skies due to security concerns more than a month after their use was made legal by the ministry of civil aviation.

drones, aviation sector, aviation industryThe drones’ flight has also been curtailed due to non-availability of no permission-no takeoff (NPNT)-compliant drones in the country.

Drones are yet to take off in the domestic skies due to security concerns more than a month after their use was made legal by the ministry of civil aviation.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to award any flying permit to the remotely-piloted aircraft systems from the Digital Sky platform since the launch on December 1, 2018.

Civil aviation secretary RN Choubey said the state governments are yet to designate ‘no-drone zones’ in their areas, which is causing the delay. The security agencies have been raising concerns areas unsafe for drones use.

“State governments have asked for more time to define no-drone zones in their state and accordingly the Digital Sky platform will be updated. The drones which are fully compliant will be allowed to operate once no-drone zones are finalised,” Choubey said.

The drones’ flight has also been curtailed due to non-availability of no permission-no takeoff (NPNT)-compliant drones in the country. According to the regulations, drone manufacturers require a software programme to enable operators to obtain permissions prior to flying.

A senior DGCA official told FE that drone flyers will have to wait till April to obtain drone flying permits.

“It (updating Digital Sky) was supposed to happen from February. But that deadline looks difficult now. We are hopeful of updating the portal by March-end,” the official said.

The aviation regulator had defined five different categories of drones as nano, micro, small, medium and large. Nano drones, which weigh less than 250 grams, do not need any registration and owners are free to fly it. For other categories, the users require a unique identification number to operate.

Also read: Investing in the stock market? Ten rules to keep in mind at all times

The ministry this week released a draft Drones 2.0 policy for operations of drones for commercial purposes.

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