Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Monitoring Drones Drafted by Cochin Airport

Civil Aviation

Kochi: The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL)  said it has prepared a Standard Operating Procedure for the surveillance of drones flying around the airport as per the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s instructions.

CIAL said some individuals, agencies and video production houses were operating drones in the district without obtaining prior permission from the authorities and many such cases were being reported by the Aircraft Pilots who spotted the presence of drones while approaching  Cochin Airport for landing.

“Cochin International Airport has prepared a Standard Operating Procedure for the surveillance of drones flying around the airport. Should anybody come across such incidents, they are requested to contact the airport authorities at 0484 2610001,” CIAL said in a release.

The recent drone attack at the Indian Air force Station in Jammu have prompted regulatory authorities to invoke the existing guidelines under the Unmanned Aircraft System Rules 2021 issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation which restricts the flying of drones around an airport. “As per the rules, the flying of any type of drone within a 3 KM area from the perimeter wall of the airport is banned.”

“The drone operator has to take prior permission from the authorities including DGCA for flying the drone beyond that area. Individuals and companies are also required to obtain approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to import, manufacture, trade, own or operate drones,” it said.

CIAL said those who operate a drone without a valid license or permit, will have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 and flying an unmanned aircraft over no operation area will attract a penalty of Rs 50,000. The airport authority also said pilots have reported flashing of laser beams from the approach path of the runway.

“Laser beams that hit the cockpit of the aircraft could be hazardous for flight safety as they will temporarily blind the pilot during the low flying phase of landing,” it said, adding that many such activities were reported by the pilots to the ATC in recent times and the airport operator has approached the Police to issue a warning. The use of laser lights has been rampant in the district during the festival season and also from venues of celebrations including opening of new shops.

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