Transport minister Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong yesterday revealed that the 2016 Civil Aviation Regulations will be amended in the interest of improving the unmanned aerial drone industry in the country. More specifically, the update will allow the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to introduce an online drone flight permit application system which would greatly speed up the registrations and approvals drastically.
Since 2020, applications for drone flight permits have been done manually by filling out forms downloaded from CAAM’s website. These are then required to be submitted to the authority, where the approval process would usually take as long as two weeks.
“The proposed amendments will be difficult to implement without an efficient and integrated online system,” Wee told reporters during the officiating at the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations workshop on Wednesday. “The amendment and introduction of the online system will give exposure to the public regarding the importance of using drones in a controlled and safe manner.”
Meanwhile, CAAM CEO Datuk Chester Voo said the application system, known as the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM), is currently in development and will be introduced once the amendments are finalised. The system is slated to be completed by October of next year and is expected to shorten the period for issuing drone flight permits from 14 days to a day.
“The UTM system will be a platform for drone ownership registration and drone flight permit applications as well as to facilitate the monitoring and investigation process in the event of an unwanted incident during flight,” he said in a statement to Bernama. Voo adds the introduction of this system will also help speed up the application approvals of drone use during emergency operations such as natural disasters.