All drones in Singapore to undergo required registration after recent spate of illegal intrusions at Changi Airport

In the wake of Changi Airport’s recent spate of unauthorized drone sightings, which caused diversions and delays to numerous flights on two occasions last month, the authorities are tightening the laws regarding these devices.

Soon, it will be mandatory for all drones operating in Singapore to be registered, while pilots of “large or capable drones” will need to be licensed. It’ll likely be put into effect by the end of the year, Channel NewsAsia said.

This also comes after two Singaporean men were charged last Friday with flying drones near Paya Lebar Air Base in June without proper permits.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced this in Parliament today, saying that these licensing requirements will “ensure that drone operators are adequately briefed on their responsibilities and that their activities are conducted in a responsible manner.”

The government is also looking at harsher penalties for those who fail to comply with flying rules, The Straits Times said. Drones cannot be flown within 5km of airports or military airbases, or at altitudes higher than 61m, without a permit. Under current laws, errant users can be jailed for up to 12 months and fined up to S$20,000.

Dr Lam said investigations are still ongoing regarding the drone incursions near Changi Airport.

“We have learnt from the experiences of other airports that identifying the perpetrators can be challenging and will take time,” he added. “Meanwhile, our priority is to detect the drones promptly and prevent them from affecting air traffic and endangering public safety.”

In response to the drone intrusions at Changi Airport, aviation authorities have upped their game with firmer countermeasures for better detection and safety enforcement.

Dr Lam also said that the drone community here are, in general, responsible and aware of sharing public spaces with others. While some have come forth with suggestions on banning drones to prevent similar incidents from occurring, he said these gadgets do have “beneficial uses” regarding robotics and programming.

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