Traveling to Singapore with a drone anytime soon? You might want to rethink your decision. The country has required all drone owners to get permits before flying one or risk penalty or jail time.
The Singapore Parliament recently announced that all drones must register by the end of the year. Operators of “large or capable” drones should also be licensed and will be under stricter rules.
Changi Airport Issues
The law was enacted after drones caused delays in 55 flights in Changi Airport on June 24. Eight flights were also diverted due to unauthorized drone activity.
On June 18, Changi Airport was forced to close one runway because of drone sightings. The incident affected 38 flights.
“This will ensure that drone operators are made aware of their responsibilities and undertake to conduct their activities in a responsible manner,” stated Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.
“Meanwhile, our priority is to detect the drones promptly and prevent them from affecting air traffic and endangering public safety,” he added. Authorities still have not found out of the perpetrators were foreigners or locals.
Currently, aviation authorities have stepped up their game to detect and disrupt drones in Changi airport. Lam also said that the government has learned how to identify and catch perpetrators through the experience of other airports.
Singapore Drone View | Falco Ermert
Despite rumors about banning drones altogether, the country officials stated that drones have advantages such as doing aerial inspections, facilitating deliveries, and education. Instead of banning it, the government will simply find the right balance, especially since the technology is ever-changing.
“As with other forms of disruptive innovation, finding the right balance in terms of regulations will take time, particularly since drone technology continues to evolve quickly,” Lam said.
In the meantime, drone users who do not abide by the new rules will face more severe penalties. Rogue drone operators can now be jailed up to a year, and fined up to S$20,000.
The law prohibiting drones to fly within 5 km. of an aerodrome without a permit has been deemed as sufficient. The government hopes that the new law will make drone owners more accountable and responsible.