Yangon Restricts Drones for Security Reasons

By San Yamin Aung 12 December 2017

YANGON — Yangon Region’s general administration department has banned drone flying for security reasons in areas in 16 townships where local and international aircraft operate.

The recent order was issued after drones flying in the approach path to the runway at Yangon International Airport disturbed airplane traffic, the order stated.

With bird strikes reportedly forcing emergency aircraft landings in past years, the order added that drone collisions could result in dangerous situations despite airport security measures.

The drone/unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) prohibited areas include North Okkalapa, Dagon Myothit (North), Dagon Myothit (East), Insein, Shwepyithar, Hlaing Tharyar, Mayangone, Hlaing, Kamayut, Kyimyindaing, Sanchaung, Bahan, Seikgyikanaungto, Mingaladon, Hlegu and Htantabin townships.

Violators of the order would face fines or one month to six months imprisonment or both under Article 188 of Myanmar’s Penal Code.

“It is acceptable as the safety risk is high. But it will be better to have legislation on using drones [instead of issuing restrictions in certain areas],” said Ko Nyana (aka Phoe Lone), the owner of MAVS aerial drone shooting services, rental and sales center.

He said that if drone legislation were prescribed, it would benefit the state, as drones are being used for government projects, mapping and surveying more so than for private use.

So far, drones fly in unrestricted areas with the permission of local authorities and police after registering with the Ministry of Transport’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

The country’s landmark Shwedagon Pagoda also banned UAVs from flying over the famed pagoda or its grounds.

Two foreign journalists from Turkish state broadcaster TRT World and two Myanmar citizens were detained by police for attempting to fly a drone near Myanmar’s Parliament in Naypyitaw on Oct. 27 amid tension raised between Myanmar and Turkey over the Rohingya crisis.

The four were sentenced to two months imprisonment on Nov. 10 under the country’s Aircraft Act and are still facing trial under the 2012 Export and Import Law for illegally bringing the drone into the country and Section 13(1) of the Immigration Act.