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Days after IGI Airport 'incidents', DGCA mulling licences for drone 'remote pilots'

Days after IGI Airport incidents, DGCA mulling licences for drone remote pilots
New Delhi: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the country's aviation watchdog, plans to introduce a remote pilot licence for operating drones and will come out with draft norms next week for the use of such unmanned aerial vehicles, a senior official said on Thursday.
While the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles is not permitted in the country, there have been instances of drone- like objects being sighted near aerodromes. Operations were suspended twice last Sunday at the Delhi international airport after pilots spotted drone-like objects at the time of landing.
A senior official from the DGCA said that the regulator would come out with draft norms for regulating the use of drones in two or three days or next week.
The draft Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) has been finalised after extensive consultations with various ministries and security agencies. "Broadly, there is consensus among various ministries on the draft CAR," the official said, adding that the concept of remote pilot licensing for use of drones would also be there.
According to the official, there is the concept of issuing remote pilot licence for operating drones that meet certain criteria in some countries.
The Government had banned the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs), including drones, by any non-government agency, organisation or an individual in October 2014. In April 2016, the DGCA came out with a draft circular regarding the use of norms for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
The draft Civil Aviation Requirement would be put up for comments from the public, the official said even as he stressed that there is no time frame as of now on when the final regulations would be in place. To ensure that the Civil Aviation Requirement has "legal backing", the rules concerned would also be changed, the official said.
Asked which entity would be regulating the use of drones, the official said that safety aspects would be taken care of by the DGCA while the security issues would be dealt by the security agencies.
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that there should be "legitimate activities" with respect to drones. "On the civil aviation, we would like to have legitimate activities. Security and safety concerns have to be addressed," the minister said in response to a query on regulating the use of drones.
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