The UAE Bans Recreational Drones After Attack on Oil Facility and Airport

United Arab Emirates Bans Drones

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced that all forms of recreational drone flights are now illegal in the country. The move follows an attack on an oil facility and airport earlier this month.

The United Arab Emirates Has Banned Drones

The UAE’s Ministry of the Interior (MOI) published a notice over the weekend that it is stopping all flying operations for “owners, practitioners, and enthusiasts of drones” which ranges from standard drones through forms of light aircraft, which includes the likes of gliders.

While the MOI does not specifically call out the recent attacks on an oil facility and airport, it does reference that the decision came after “misuse” was spotted “recently.”

“The MOI asked individuals and the community to respect the authorities directives namely issued by the MOI, and the General Authority for Civil Aviation, in order to ensure the safety of lives and property, preserving them from unsafe bad practices. Hence, air activities will be suspended as of Saturday, January 22, 2022,” the MOI writes.

The MOI stipulates that those who have work contracts or commercial and advertising projects that rely on filmmaking through the use of drones must work directly with those who issue permits to receive the necessary exemptions.

The Attack That Likely Spurred the Ban

An attack by Yemen Houthi rebels targetted a major oil facility in the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi on Monday, January 17, killing three people, wounding six more, and leading to a fire at the city’s international airport, according to the Associated Press. The attack reportedly used both ballistic missiles and drones laden with explosives, the exact details of which are not known.

The Verge notes that Houthi rebels — an Islamist, Iran-backed group in Yemen — have previously used small drones in a number of attacks on Arab countries over the last few years including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. But this attack was on a larger scale and is the first time the UAE has officially acknowledged such attacks and the first time they have been fatal according to the BBC Reports.

While the UAE MOI does not reference this attack as the specific reason for the drone ban, the timing and circumstances are extremely coincidental.

Countries That Have Banned Drones

The UAE joins a list of 28 other countries and rgions that have banned drone flights in some way. According to LucidCam, drones are currently banned in some capacity or so heavily regulated their use is heavily restricted in Algeria, Antarctica, Barbados, Bhutan, Brunei, Cuba, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Nicaragua, North Korea, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, France, and Austria.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.