Ahmed bin Saeed: new drone law will help tap vast new opportunities and strengthen Dubai’s global position in the aviation sector
Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC) and its affiliated corporations Dubai South and Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) welcomed the enactment of Law No. 4 of 2020 on the regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saying it will help generate substantial new opportunities and business streams that will further strengthen the emirate’s regional and global position in the aviation sector.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, said: “The new Law represents a strategic step to reinforce the emirate’s leadership in the global smart aviation sector. 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. As a future-ready city, Dubai is on track to becoming an international centre for drone manufacturing, smart transport, and innovation in air transport. I am grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his forward-looking vision and determination to strengthen the sector in Dubai and position the emirate as a global pioneer.”
The comprehensive new Law will create the optimal framework for regulating the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial and government purposes in Dubai while also paving the way to attract drone companies and expertise to the emirate. The growth of this sector will revolutionise many industries and open new avenues in the fields of transportation of goods and passengers, design and manufacturing, delivery services, drone-related educational and training, and R&D. The Law, which was the result of extensive collaboration between several government entities, including Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and DACC, seeks to support HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Dubai to become the aviation capital of the world, and support the development of the futuristic ‘Dubai Sky Dome’ project. The Law supports DACC’s mandate to create a conducive environment to attract investments in the aviation industry and promote Dubai as an international air transport hub. It also supports DAEP’s mandate to advance Dubai’s aviation sector by developing the world’s largest and most sophisticated aviation infrastructure.
The Law will facilitate the development of the drone sector and help attract international companies specialised in drones to establish their businesses in Dubai, especially in Dubai South’s unique aerospace platform, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH). Logistics and e-commerce companies in Dubai South will benefit from the Law, which provides a clear legal framework for transporting and delivering goods and packages using drones. Dubai South offers an integrated ecosystem, strategic gateway, and free zone status and other benefits for drone companies to establish a base in Dubai to tap markets in the region.
With its skilled workforce and accumulated experience in planning, designing, and constructing Dubai’s aviation infrastructure, DAEP will play a vital role in realising the leadership’s vision for smart transportation and innovation by using drones to meet the needs of government entities. DAEP will be responsible for designing and supervising the construction of drone airports for the government’s use, including related facilities and infrastructure. It will also be the 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. 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.
Comprising ten chapters and 50 articles on the regulation of drone activities in Dubai and the roles of various government entities in this regard, the 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. The Law also outlines guidelines for drone operations; operators and their obligations; 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, among others.