Dubai International Airport was brought to a standstill on Wednesday morning due to unauthorised drone activity, Dubai Airports has confirmed. The airport was forced to close the airspace and operations were disrupted for one hour between 8am and 9am, with full operations resuming at 9.07am.
An eyewitness reported 21 planes were backed up on the runway and there were several delays. A Dubai Airports spokesperson said in a statement to Arabian Business: “Airspace around Dubai International was closed from 0808 hrs to 0835 hrs this morning due to unauthorised drone activity resulting in a number of delays at the airport.
“Arrival operations resumed at 0835 hrs and departures at 0840 hrs with some restrictions. Full operations were resumed at 0907 hrs.” The statement added: “Dubai Airports is working closely with its stakeholders to minimise customer inconvenience. “Safety is our top priority and Dubai Airports reminds all UAV operators that any and all activities are not permitted unless authorised by regulatory authorities and are strictly prohibited in restricted areas including within 5 kilometres of any airport or landing area.”
It is the latest incident involving unauthorised activity by an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, at a UAE airport. In June Dubai International Airport was closed for more than an hour because of a drone incursion, and, last year, another drone caused a 55-minute shutdown of airspace, costing the emirate’s economy a reported AED3.7 million per minute.
Following last year’s incident DXB was named as one of four drone no-fly zones established by the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority. The others are Al Maktoum airport, the Al Minhad air base and the Palm Jumeirah near Skydive Dubai.