The presence of an unauthrorised drone above Dubai airport disrupted air traffic for more than an hour, the second such incident to hit one of the world’s most busiest airports in 18 months. On Saturday, air traffic was suspended between 11.36am and 12.45pm by Dubai Air Traffic Control Tower.
A Dubai Airports statement said it was “due to unauthorised drone activity”. As a result, a number of delays and flight diversions were sustained.
“We are working with Dubai Police, the airport and the relevant authorities in the investigations on the breach of the no-fly zone,” General Civil Aviation Authority chief Saif Al Suwaidi said.
This is the second time such an incident has happened in less than two years in Dubai.
Michael Rudolph, head of aviation regulation and safety at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), had said that the first drone incident on January 23 last year may have cost Dubai close to USD 69 million.
“USD 1 million per minute - that’s what it cost the economy of Dubai”, he had said when referring to incident, which saw the airspace above Dubai airport shut for 55 minutes.
The majority of planes already in the air were diverted to Dubai World Central Airport, a Dubai Airports spokesperson was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
The Dubai Airports said in the statement: “Dubai Airports is working closely with its stakeholders to restore operations and minimise customer inconvenience.
Safety is our top priority and Dubai Airports reminds all unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) operators that any and all activities are not permitted unless authorised by regulatory authorities and are strictly prohibited in restricted areas, including within 5km of any airport or landing area,” the statement said.
Drone users caught flying their drones in sensitive no- fly zones are now liable to face fines of up to 1 million dirham in Dubai. The DCAA has set various no-fly zones and zones with restricted access across the emirate.