Drone halts traffic at Dubai airport for half hour, second time in four months | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Drone halts traffic at Dubai airport for half hour, second time in four months

world Updated: Sep 28, 2016 14:29 IST
Dubai airport

An Emirates passenger plane at Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates in May 2014. (AP)

An unauthorised drone forced Dubai airport to halt air traffic for about half an hour in the second such incident in four months, the airport authority said.

Airspace around the world’s busiest airport for international flights was on Tuesday closed between 0408 and 0435 GMT “due to unauthorised drone activity,” Dubai Airports said on its Twitter account.

“We are working to minimise inconvenience,” it added.

“Safety is our top priority and we remind all UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operators that activities are not permitted within five kilometres of any airport or landing area.”

Those found guilty of flying drones within that limit are liable to heavy fines in the United Arab Emirates.

Read | Rogue drone brings Dubai airport to a halt for over an hour, 22 flights diverted

But since the earlier incident on June 12, which forced Dubai airport to close for 69 minutes, the UAE authorities have announced their intention to tighten the rules on the purchase and use of drones and the penalties for violating them.

The flying of drones is prohibited within 5km of airports, helipads, landing areas or manned aircraft in the UAE.

Around 100 airlines fly to more than 260 destinations from Dubai, which is also home to major carrier Emirates.

More than 78 million passengers travelled through the airport last year.

Around the world the use of civil drones, whether for commercial purposes or just as a leisure activity, is rising. That popularity has led to increasing reports of near-misses with commercial aircraft, such as when a Lufthansa plane was approaching Warsaw airport last month.

Aviation concerns focus on smaller drones, operated like model planes and flown for recreation, because their users are often not familiar with the rules of the air.