Flights at Dubai airport grounded due to drone attack

The airport has since reopened

Helen Coffey
Friday 15 February 2019 10:43 GMT
Flights were suspended for half an hour
Flights were suspended for half an hour (AP)

Flights at Dubai airport were grounded due to suspected drone activity on Friday morning.

All flights were suspended from 10.13-10.45am local time, according to a Dubai International Airport spokesperson.

Service has now resumed as normal.

“Dubai Airports confirms that operations at Dubai International are back to normal after less than 30 minutes of delay due to unauthorized drone activity,” tweeted the Government of Dubai Media Office.

“Authorities warned that flying drones without obtaining permission is subject to legal liability as per UAE laws,” it added.

The penalties for unauthorised drone use are severe in the UAE, General Civil Aviation Authority director-general Saif Mohammed al-Suwaidi told Al-Arabiya TV in an interview.

Passengers were unimpressed with the delays caused by the drone, with twitter user Anush Wijesinha writing earlier this morning: “Stuck for ages at Dubai airport runway unable to taxi as unauthorized drones have entered the airspace here and all takeoffs have been grounded!”

Another passenger, Andrew Todd, tweeted that thousands of people were “sitting in planes going nowhere”.

The incident follows high profile shut-downs of both Gatwick and Heathrow airports in the UK due to drones in the last three months.

London Gatwick was closed in the run-up to Christmas, disrupting more than 1,000 flights and hundreds of thousands of passengers, following nearly 100 sightings of drones around the airfield from “credible witnesses”.

Just last month, Heathrow grounded all flights for around an hour in response to unauthorised drone activity.

Both airports have since invested millions into anti-drone technology.

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Dubai has the world’s busiest airport in terms of international passengers, with 81.4 million travellers passing through in the first 11 months of 2018.

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