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Sri Lanka lifts 8-month ban on drones

drone, france, India

Sri Lanka’s civil aviation authority today lifted the 8-month ban on operation of drones, reported the Sri Lanka daily newspaper Daily News. “Drones can be operated in conformity with the normal civil aviation regulations in force,” the authority said. It’s unclear if this is also applicable to other pilotless aircraft such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Remotely Piloted Aircraft. 

The country had indefinitely banned all pilotless aircraft including drones in April 2019, in the aftermath of the deadly Easter Sunday bombings, citing security reasons. Anyone found operating a drone without a valid permit could be punished with a 2-year jail term and a fine of up to INR 250,000. The Sri Lankan government had also blocked access to several social media platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp, following the attacks; the ban was lifted after 10 days. 

The rules for flying a drone in Sri Lanka are covered by the Civil Aviation Act No. 14 of 2010, which says all drones that weigh 200 grams or more, or have a camera attached (regardless of weight) must be registered with the authority. The conditions for acquiring a permit are listed in Implementing Standards No. SLCAIS-53, titled ‘Requirements for Operation of Pilotless Aircraft’.

Meanwhile, in India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked drone operators to voluntarily register themselves and their drones by January 31, 2020. This direction is applicable to models, prototypes, toys, remote-controlled aircraft, autonomous and remotely piloted aircraft systems.

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