Flights from Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest hub for long-haul flights, were suspended for half an hour on Friday over a suspected drone sighting, the latest case of a remotely-controlled flying device disrupting a major airport.
Departures were halted between 10:13am and 10:45am local time, according to a Dubai Airports spokesman. The sheikdom’s government said in a later tweet that operations were back to normal after “less than 30 minutes of delay due to unauthorized drone activity.”
It also said authorities “warned that flying drones without obtaining permission is subject to legal liability as per United Arab Emirates laws.”
The incident follows chaos last December at London’s Gatwick airport when a pair of drones halted travel for more than 120,000 people over the course of 36 hours.
Last month, more than 40 flights headed to Newark Liberty International Airport were disrupted following pilot reports of a drone flying nearby, while departures were also interrupted at the UK capital’s Heathrow hub, Europe’s busiest, after reports of sightings.
Dubai is the hub for Emirates, which has used its position at a crossroads between Europe and Asia to develop an unparalleled network of intercontinental connections.
Sister operator FlyDubai, a specialist in short-range discount flights, said departures were delayed by up to an hour due to the shutdown, though there was no impact on arrivals.
Some travellers in Dubai took to Twitter to share their complaints. Anush Wijesinha said he had been marooned on his plane at the airport:
Another person, Andrew Todd, tweeted that there were “thousands of people sitting in planes going nowhere.”For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.