Dubai airport airspace closed due to ‘unauthorised drone activity’

Airspace is closed for security reasons after unauthorised activity, causing minor delays to dozens of flights.
Dubai International Airport’s airspace was closed for half an hour on Wednesday morning due to ‘unauthorised drone activity’. Courtesy Emirates
Dubai International Airport’s airspace was closed for half an hour on Wednesday morning due to ‘unauthorised drone activity’. Courtesy Emirates

DUBAI // Dubai International Airport was closed to aircraft for about half an hour on Wednesday morning after a drone entered its airspace.

Airspace was closed from 8.08am to 8.35am because of “unauthorised drone activity” and flights were delayed, Dubai Airports said.

Arrivals were the first to resume, followed by departures five minutes later. Full services resumed at 9.07am.

“We remind all operators of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] that activities are not permitted within 5 kilometres of any airport or landing area,” a Dubai Airports statement said.

A spokesman said the closure resulted in minor delays to 90 flights across the airport.

“Emirates can confirm its flight operations from and to Dubai were disrupted today from approximately 8.10am until 9.10am Dubai time due to unauthorised drone activity which led to the temporary closure of airspace around Dubai International Airport,” a spokeswoman for Emirates Airline said.

“The disruption resulted in a number of flight delays ranging from 45 to 65 minutes.

“Emirates is making all efforts to ensure minimal disruption to passengers, and assist affected passengers.”

Dubai International Airport is one of four drone no-fly zones set up by the General Civil Aviation Authority in April after an incident last year in which a drone caused a 55-minute shutdown estimated to have cost the emirate’s economy Dh3.7 million a minute.

The other no-fly zones are Al Maktoum Airport, Al Minhad airbase and the Palm Jumeirah, around Skydive Dubai.

In June, Dubai International Airport was closed to aircraft for more than an hour after a drone incursion.

Renaud Barbier, the technical director and co-owner of Dubai-based Fractal Systems, which sells drones, said the devices could cause accidents.

“Unauthorised drones could become a hazard to aircraft and airport security as they may cause airplane collisions or traffic disruption,” he said.

Drone disruptions this year

September 28, 2016: A non-military drone flying into its airspace closes Dubai International Airport for nearly half an hour and causes delays to 90 flights.

August 10, 2016: A near-miss occurs between a drone and a passenger plane with 62 -people on board near Newquay airport in England.

August 4, 2016: A Lufthansa Airbus plane with 108 passengers and six crew on board is in a near collision with a drone at Munich airport.

June 20, 2016: A drone misses an Air Canada Jazz aircraft by fewer than 60 metres during its approach to land at Calgary International Airport.

June 11, 2016: A drone incursion causes a 69-minute closure at Dubai International, with 14 flights diverted to other airports.

June 11, 2016: A drone gets close to a commercial passenger plane, landing at Winnipeg James Richardson International Airport.

May 27, 2016: A drone comes to within 31m of hitting a Ryanair plane landing at Prestwick Airport in Scotland.

April 17, 2016: A drone hits British Airways plane with 132 passengers and five crew on board as it approaches Heathrow Airport in England.

Published: September 28, 2016 04:00 AM


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