Drone use guidelines coming soon: Minister

NAY PYI TAW — Comprehensive guidelines will be released soon for operating drones, which are being increasingly used for a range of purposes in Myanmar, parliament was told last week.

The Deputy Minister for Transport, U Yin Zaw, said drones needed to be classified, registered and licensed and restricted to certain areas, as was foreshadowed by the Department of Civil Aviation in September.

The guidelines were being drafted and would include rules and regulations for operating the unmanned aerial vehicles, checks on their operators and restrictions on flights over high-risk areas, U Yin Zaw told the Amyotha Hluttaw on January 6.

He said the Transport Ministry was developing the guidelines in coordination with the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, Hotels and Tourism and Culture.

U Yin Zaw said permission was needed from the office of the Defence Chief of Staff (Air) to operate drones near airports and air bases.

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He was responding to a question from U Nyunt Tin (Union Solidarity and Development Party, Yangon Region Constituency 10), who said he did not want drones to be banned but was concerned they could pose a safety risk unless their use was regulated.

Drones are being used in Myanmar for agriculture, gathering meteorological data, structural checks on bridges and buildings, traffic control and defence purposes.

They are also used by media organisations. A camera-equipped drone captured powerful images of long queues of voters in downtown Yangon during the November election.

At least one drone enthusiast has filmed a birds-eye view of the temple-studded plain of Bagan. The stunning three-minute clip was posted on YouTube on December 15, 2014 by an enthusiast using the name “Clipper 707”, who said airport Customs officials confiscated his drone when he returned to Myanmar last June.

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