The number of drones observed around airports rose to 18 in 2017, as of December 15, significantly higher than in recent years, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation restricts the use of drones or unmanned aircraft systems by private entities as it poses a hazard to aviation safety. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is working on norms to regulate the operation of drones for civilian purposes.

In 2016, only nine such incidents were reported. Two drone-related incidents were recorded in 2015, and none in 2014, Sinha’s reply to a question in the Lok Sabha showed. The minister told the House that no international standards were available at the moment to regulate drones.

In response to another question, Sinha said the number of air safety violations had declined this year. Till December 15, the figure stood at 375, against 431 in 2016, Sinha said.