Flights diverted from Sharjah International Airport due to suspected drone incident

Six Air Arabia flights were sent to Ras Al Khaimah on Thursday

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 28 OCTOBER 2018. Air Arabia’s 15th Anniversary Celebration at the Air Arabia hanger in the Sharjah Cargo Terminal. Launch of the newly outfitted Airbus. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Sarah Townsend. Section: Business.
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Flights were diverted away from Sharjah International Airport on Thursday morning due to suspected drone activity in the area.

Six planes were sent to Ras Al Khaimah International between 7am and 9am, an airport official there confirmed to The National.

The planes departed for Sharjah a short time later.

One passenger said the captain told passengers it was due to a suspected drone sighting but there was no official confirmation from the authorities.

A Sharjah airport official confirmed there was brief disruption but had no further comment. Civil aviation officials would not confirm a drone was involved and declined to comment further.

In September, two flights were diverted from Dubai International Airport suspected drone activity in the area and in February, operations were temporarily shut-down at Dubai International, causing delays of almost an hour for some flights.

Drones forced the airspace around DXB to close on three occasions in 2016, leading to the introduction of strict penalties by the country's General Civil Aviation Authority.

And last December major disruption was caused at London's Gatwick airport after drones were spotted near the airfield, raising concerns globally about the vulnerability of airports to unmanned aerial vehicles.

Anyone found operating a drone without a licence in the UAE or any restricted airspace can be hit with a Dh20,000 fine. The devices cannot be flown within 5 kilometres of an airport.