Law Updates

CAA Issues new Drone Regulation

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published in this week’s issue of the Official Gazette a new Regulation Governing the Activity of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones) that replaces the Regulation Governing Practising the Aerial Activity and Aerial Works Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle of 2020.

The new Drone Regulation of 2023 is extremely similar to the Drone Regulation of 2020: The use of drones is still regulated, and those wishing to use drones, even for recreational activities such as photography, are still required to obtain a licence from the CAA before they are allowed to fly their drones. The exception for toy drones remains the same as toy drones weighing less 250 grams and flying at an altitude less than 100 metres are allowed without a licence as long as they do not have cameras or any sort of sensors. The fine for flying a drone without a licence remains the same: 500 Rial Omani. The regulation is now a bit more ambiguous regarding what happens to the violating drone as the previous regulation explicitly mentioned confiscation, while the new regulation says the CAA will undertake the legal procedures in regard to the drone.

The new regulation makes some very subtle substantive changes, such as requiring legal entities to be registered in Oman to be able to apply for a drone licence; creating a new offence of deploying tools to obstruct the operation of drones without the permission of the authority, which is now punishable by an administrative fine of 600 Rial Omani; and introducing a new provision relating to the use of the NOTAM system for issuing notices relating to the use of drones. It also appears that the CAA’s authority to issue temporary licences without complying with the provisions of the regulation is now wider and no longer limited to emergencies and necessary cases.

It is also worth noting that value of the licensing fees from the regulation is no longer mentioned in the regulation itself, and they will probably be issued by a separate decision.

This new regulation enters into force tomorrow. Those with existing licences will be allowed to use them until their expiry, and will be required to comply with the new regulation when they renew.

You can read the new regulation in full in English on the link below: