Dubai Cricket Stadium will soon offer arrive-and-fly drone rental facilities, allowing enthusiasts to borrow drones to fly in a safe space.
The project is being overseen by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, which hopes it will reduce airport closures.
The comprehensive drone centre will also offer training and drone repair services, and provide the stadium with another source of revenue.
“In a month we have about 14 days of cricket, whereas the other 16 are just for pitch maintenance,” explained Salman Hanif, Head of Cricket Business at Dubai Sports City, which operates the stadium.
“Those times will be utilised with other activities and one of them will be for drones.”
The project has yet to be formally approved by the DCAA but is likely to see a soft launch next month and be in full operation by September.
Dubai Sports City has partnered with drone solutions provider Airscope to deliver the project.
Airscope CEO Mohammad Aziz said: “Eventually the whole idea is to kick-off a drone league and have it as a spectator sport where people can come and watch racing through track loops and airgates.
“However, we also want to convince people to stop flying in random areas and instead come in for an exciting experience behind closed doors.”
Although all drone users in Dubai must have a license and third-party insurance, but the new centre will allow enthusiasts to try out the hobby on a more casual basis.
The DCAA app lists permitted flying areas, and anyone flying a drone outside of these zones risks a prison sentence or a fine of up to Dh100,000.
A safe and secure drone-flying area at the stadium should also help to reduce airport runway closures, which cost an estimated Dh3.67 million a minute.
The new drone centre will also offer training and advice and provide a hub for drone enthusiasts in the area.