Skip to main content
News |

Rogue drone shuts Dubai airport

The unauthorised unmanned aerial vehicle stopped flights in and out of the major hub for more than an hour
An unidentified drone disrupted air traffic at Dubai airport. (AFP)

A rogue drone disrupted air traffic at Dubai International Airport for more than an hour on Saturday, said the operator of one of the world's busiest aviation hubs.

"DXB airspace was closed due to unauthorised UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) activity for 69 minutes resulting in a number of diversions," Dubai Airports said in a statement on its Twitter account, using its code.

"Airspace reopened at 12:45 (0845 GMT)" on Saturday, it added.

As a result, some flights were delayed for four hours and four flights were diverted, the 7Days newspaper reported.

It was the second such incident in 18 months, according to media reports in the United Arab Emirates.

The use of drones is banned within the boundary of the airport, with those found guilty of flying the pilotless aircraft there facing heavy fines.

Situated on transcontinental air routes, Dubai is one of several Gulf-based airports to experience prodigious growth in recent years.

Around 100 airlines fly to more than 240 destinations from the hub, which is also home to carrier Emirates.

There have been a number of reports of near-misses between planes and unmanned aircraft at major hubs across the world in the last year in the last year. A report in March by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates air accidents, said there were 23 cases in the UK alone the six months between April and October last year, including two at Heathrow.

Ministers in the UK and elsewhere are examining the possibility of introducing a drone-registration scheme, much like the ones already in place in Ireland and the US. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.