The new ruling aims to tighten security, according to a new decision on drone use issued recently by Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Dr Thansamay Kommasith.
Foreign and local individuals, entities or organisations wanting to use and fly their drones weighing more than 200 grams must seek permission from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and other relevant sectors.
Those wanting to import drones weighing more than 200 grams must seek permission from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
An official of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications in charge of the issue told Vientiane Times on Friday that his ministry is in charge of regulating and monitoring imported drones and the signal frequency used to ensure they meet technical safety standards.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is in charge of regulating and permitting locations where drones will be allowed to fly.
“We are told that officials of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport are drawing up a regulation to regulate drone use on their part,” said the official, who wished to be unnamed.
The new decision categorises drones, also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), into three types – drones weighing not heavier than 200 grams, drones weighing more than 200 grams but not heavier than 2 kilograms, and drones more than 2 kilograms.
Owners of drones under 200 grams, which are usually used as toys, can fly their drones without having to seek permission from the relevant authorities, according to the decision. The decision is the first of its kind promulgated to regulate drone use in Laos.
The move comes after many members of the public have been flying their drones in the skies of Vientiane and provinces freely without being regulated raising safety concerns.
“Without regulating, flying drones could pose a safety threat,” the official said. The radio telecommunications frequency used for drones heavier than 200 grams must be between 2,400-2,500 MHz or 5,725 - 5,875 MHz. Equivalent isotropic radiated power (EIRP) should be 100.
Drones failing to meet the above mentioned MHz and EIRP standards are prohibited from flying in Lao skies.
Those importing, producing, or selling drones heavier than 200 grams without permission from the relevant authorities will be fined one million kip per drone.
And those using stronger MHz and EIRP than the specified standards will also be fined in line with the decision.
Any damage caused by the use of a drone shall be fully the responsibility of drone users.