Fly­ing blind of laws

Re­tail­ers in Dubai of­fer con­flict­ing ad­vice on drones

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Ryan and Shab­nam Bashiri @7DAYSUAE

Reg­is­ter or don’t reg­is­ter, fly any­where or only over the beach. These were the con­fused mes­sages handed out by drone re­tail­ers when 7DAYS vis­ited a num­ber of stores yes­ter­day.

We can­vassed more than a dozen re­tail­ers across Dubai and re­ceived in­struc­tions that were wildly con­flict­ing.

At the first store we vis­ited in Dubai Mall we were told that we would need to pur­chase a li­cence be­fore be­ing al­lowed to fly a drone.

“You have to go to Ter­mi­nal 3 at the air­port,” the sales as­sis­tant said.

“It costs some­thing like Dhs100. You can buy the prod­uct to­day and take it with you, but you can’t fly it with­out the li­cence.”

“You can only fly it in cer­tain parts of Dubai and not at all in Abu Dhabi.”

How­ever, when we re­turned to the same store three hours later, we were told a very dif­fer­ent story by an­other as­sis­tant.

“No you don’t need a li­cence you just have to fol­low the rules and reg­u­la­tions,” he said.

We asked sales staff where we could find the rules and reg­u­la­tions. “You can go on­line but it’s re­ally just you can’t fly them at the air­port or at the palace ei­ther,” he said, be­fore adding that drones, which re­tail for be­tween Dhs3,000-Dhs5,200, are banned in the cap­i­tal Abu Dhabi.

Staff at an­other re­tailer, which has mul­ti­ple branches in Dubai told us more peo­ple would buy drones if it “wasn’t for the hassle with per­mits”.

One drone owner told 7DAYS that he re­ceived no in­for­ma­tion when he made his pur­chase. “They just said to check out the law,” he said. “There was noth­ing men­tioned about reg­is­tra­tion, they just wanted to sell the drone as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

One trader told 7DAYS that some mod­els come with sen­sors to avoid col­li­sion with build­ings.

UP IN THE AIR: One of the drones that was on dis­play at Dragon Mart in Dubai yes­ter­day

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