It is observed that some individuals, agencies and video production houses are operating drones in the district without obtaining prior permission from the authorities. Many such cases are being reported by the Aircraft Pilots who spotted the presence of drones while approaching Cochin Airport for landing. As per the instruction of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, 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
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 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 Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to import, manufacture, trade, own or operate drones. Without a valid license or permit, those who operate a drone will have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000. Flying an unmanned aircraft over no operation area will attract a penalty of Rs 50,000.
Also, flashing of the laser beams from the approach path of Cochin Airport has been reported by the Aircraft Pilots and the hazard is on the rise in the district. 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. The use of laser lights has been rampant in the district during the festival season and also from venues of celebrations including the opening up of new shops. 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.