By Staff writer
Unlicensed drone caused Dubai Airport to ground flights, shut down airspace on Saturday
The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has reportedly launched a search for the owner of the drone that forced Dubai to ground flights and shut down its airspace on Saturday.
Dubai International Airport said it was forced to close airspace for more than an hour due to unauthorised drone activity.
The incident caused a serious of delays and diversions to flights. It was the second time in 18 months that a drone has disrupted Dubai airport operations.
Some planes arrived at their destinations nearly four hours late while four international flights were diverted, local media said.
The director-general of the GCAA, Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, was quoted by 7Days as saying an investigation had been launched to determine the identity of the drone’s owner.
“The drone-user has broken all UAE laws regulating drones,” Al Suwaidi said. “There are restrictions to where drones can fly. Drones can’t be operated within a certain radius of an airport.
“The law regulates the activities of the civil aviation industry. The law prohibits all acts that may endanger aircraft, airports or any aviation services facilities.”
In April, Dubai authorities enacted stricter rules regulating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), known as drones.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) established four drone no-fly zones and nine areas requiring registration across Dubai.
In a statement on Saturday, Dubai Airports said: “Dubai Airports is working closely with its stakeholders to restore operations and minimise customer inconvenience.
“Safety is our top priority and Dubai Airports reminds all UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) operators that any and all activities are not permitted unless authorised by regulatory authorities and are strictly prohibited in restricted areas, including within five kilometres of any airport or landing area.”
The GCAA has very clear & specific rules and regulations in place for operation of drones, hence whoever has caused this obstruction and shutting down of air-space has carried out a very irresponsible act, which has inconvenienced thousands of air travellers and also huge cost for diversions and delays for airlines and passengers. Such irresponsible person(s) should be put to task very rightfully. The response by Dubai authorities is very commendable & reflects their utmost care for safety and security.