Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department launches public consultation on unmanned aircraft regulations

Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department launches public consultation on unmanned aircraft regulations

Governments around the world are actively reviewing ways to
cope with the technological development and the diversifying application of UAS. Earlier this month, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of
Hong Kong published
a report on the consultancy study on the regulation of unmanned aircraft
systems (UAS) and launched a 3-month public consultation exercise on the
directions for regulating UAS in Hong Kong.

At the moment, the operation of UAS in Hong Kong is subject
to prevailing laws, such as Article 48 of the Air Navigation
(Hong Kong) Order 1995 (Cap. 448C),
which stipulates that a person
shall not recklessly or negligently cause or permit an aircraft, including UAS,
to endanger any person or property. Operators must also observe other relevant
laws of Hong Kong, such as but not limited to the Telecommunications
Ordinance (Cap. 106)
and the Personal Data (Privacy)
Ordinance (Cap. 486)

However, there have been calls for a fundamental review of
the current regime, which is considered rudimentary and cannot cope with the
regulatory challenges brought by technological advancements and proliferation
of UAS over the years. 

“New and specific legislation will be needed to keep up with
the current situation as well as the future development of UAS
operations," said the spokesperson from CAD. 

Credit: Civil Aviation Department of Hong Kong

In March 2017, the CAD commissioned a study on the regulation of UAS. The
objective is to provide recommendations that can strike a reasonable balance
between facilitating usage and development of UAS on the one hand and
protecting public safety on the other.    

The consultancy
observed that while there were no uniform standards, the
international community generally adopted a risk-based approach to classify and
regulate UAS.

After evaluating the relevant risk factors and with due
consideration to local conditions, the consultant made 6 key recommendations on
the regulation of UAS in Hong Kong: (1) establishing a UAS owner registration
system, (2) regulating UAS operations by risk-based classification, (3) prescribing
training and assessment requirements, (4) providing drone maps for UAS
operators, (5) prescribing insurance requirements for UAS, and (6) conducting
further study on indoor operation of UAS. 

The full consultation paper is available here.
Members of the public may send their views to CAD’s Air Services and
Safety Management Division on or before 3 July, 2018.