KUALA LUMPUR – The flying of unauthorised drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) especially in high-risk zones could pose a threat to public safety, aviation safety and national security.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said it could also infringe personal liberty and the right to privacy.
DCA on Tuesday had issued a warning prohibiting the flying of unauthorised drones or UAV in the vicinity of airports.
The immediate step was taken following the purported aerial drone photographs of aircraft aproaching the KL International Airport KLIA) had been uploaded on social media sites and had since gone viral recently, raising fear among Netizens that it could lead to another aviation disaster.
“We were very concerned that the drone might carry a camera or unwanted goods and fly at prohibited areas, or in the vicinity of the government facilities that could eventually threaten the public safety and security,” he told Bernama.
Azharuddin said the misuse of drones could also lead to infringement of privacy when it was used to snap photos or shoot videos without permission.
“Actually drones cannot be flown not only at the vicinity of airports, but also at the public places without DCA’s permission,” he said.
He said DCA required that anyone wanting to fly a drone must seek permission so that it could be monitored and would not pose any problem to the airspace.
“If the drone flies in public areas and has some problem causing it to crash down, it would certainly worsen the situation, the purpose of giving the permission is to enable us to monitor the flight of the drones,” he said.
However, he did not dismiss the advantages gained from the use of remote-controlled aircraft which were now readily available at reasonable prices.
“There are many advantages of using drones for example during massive flooding that hit several states recently, the drones were used to fly to the areas cut off to deliver the aid,” said Azharuddin.
Hence, in order to raise awareness among the drone owners and enthusiasts, the DCA will hold a special briefing in the near future which would give detailed rules and restrictions on the use and operation of drones and UAV flight.
Azharuddin said the special session on the use of drones or UAV by the DCA would also be held at the 13th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition from March 17 to 21.
He said the DCA was also currently reviewing the renewal of the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 4/2008, which would be added with a new regulation on the use of drones. – BERNAMA