Individuals likely to own, use drones soon

MUSCAT, April 24 – Drones will not be limited to government and private bodies any more. Individuals in Oman are likely to be able to own and use drones soon, according to the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), who patronised a panel discussion on ‘Wedrone’ in Oman: challenges and opportunities’ on Tuesday at Grand Hyatt Muscat. Hundreds of hobbyists have been waiting for the decision for long, but their waiting will be paid off within the coming period, assured Anwar bin Abdullah al Raisi, Director-General of PACA.
“There are challenges facing use of drones not only in the Sultanate but in the world as well. Since it is important to regulate this sector, we have formed a committee from government, military and security bodies to formulate a way or a system of drones’ usage by the public. We want to make sure that they are not used near airports or security zones” al Raisi told Observer.
He mentioned that private sector has benefited from drones in the business since 2015. “The procedure is very easy. All they need to do is filling the application form online. Once PACA receives it, it will forward it to the National Survey Authority for security screening” he explained, pointing that the process takes one moth maximum to issue the permit.
Currently, 60 institutions use drones for different purposes. They were given approval depending on specific periods of use as well as entry and exit methods in coordination with the customs centres.
Al Raisi pointed out that law draft regarding individuals’ use of drones has been attached to the concerned bodies to be endorsed. “Thousands of people have applied for drone permits through PACA. Although it is an interesting hobby, we can’t issue such permits without making sure that they are used in the right way. The law considers privacy of people in residential areas, security and military zones, and airports campus.’
The panel, organised by German University of Technology (GUTech), discussed various topics like current regulations, drones and national security innovations, drones in oil and gas industries, in environmental surveying and in port activities management.
Dr Nafe Jaber, Head of Computer Department at GUTech, said: “Drones has become a breakthrough recently. The use of them is no more limited to military purposes. The public can now use drones to capture magnificent moments. For this, the University has organised a panel to look into the added value that can be put in different sectors like safety, security, tourism, business’.
Jaber said the GUTech signed an agreement with Drone Valley International, an European company, by which GUTech would be a hub for drones technology in the Sultanate and the region.

Zainab al Nassri