Need for regional framework for regulations on unmanned aircraft

A drone at a construction site in Toa Payoh.
A drone at a construction site in Toa Payoh. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Aviation regulators in the Asia-Pacific region need to collaborate on a regional framework to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft, said Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Director-General Kevin Shum.

"This would help avoid the development of a patchwork of vastly different regulatory regimes, which will make it difficult for users and manufacturers to operate," he said.

He suggested that collaboration between the various bodies could be through joint working groups or annual conferences.

He said this in his opening remarks at the first Asia-Pacific Symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, on Tuesday (May 31) at the Singapore Aviation Academy.

The symposium - which runs until Wednesday - hosts 150 representatives from aviation regulatory authorities, government agencies and service providers and will address issues related to the regulation of unmanned aircraft including certification, airspace integration and licencing.

According to the United States Department of Transportation,the number of unmanned aircraft will surpass that of manned aircraft by 2035, while the Federal Aviation Administration estimates that in the US alone, the sales of such aircraft for commercial purposes will grow to 2.7million by 2020, up from 600,000 currently.