Recreational drones bring Dubai airport traffic to a halt

Air traffic suspended for an hour on Friday due to people flying drones in air navigation passages.

Planes were grounded for almost one hour on Friday at Dubai International Airport. AFP
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DUBAI // People flying drones brought air traffic to a standstill at Dubai airport for almost an hour on Friday, state news agency Wam reported.

Between 3pm and 3.55pm air traffic was suspended by Dubai Air Traffic Control Tower as a result of “malpractices of some members of the public who flew recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the air navigation passages of planes”.

Planes already in the air were diverted to Al Maktoum Airport, in Jebel Ali.

Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, director general of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and the chief executive of Dubai Air Navigation Services, warned that irresponsible recreational activities with UAVs could lead to serious consequences as the drones pose a threat to the safety of air navigation and to passengers.

“These UAVs are strictly prohibited in Dubai air space for any purpose without a prior permit from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority,” he said, while warning that legal action would be taken against offenders.

Major General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, assistant to Dubai Police commander-in-general for Exits Affairs, said that after receiving the decision from the control tower to suspend air traffic, police took the precautionary measure of diverting planes to the city’s second airport.

He urged the public to obey the laws and regulations regulating these hobbies and avoid practicing them anywhere near air traffic.