Air traffic in Dubai was halted temporarily for around 55 minutes on early Friday morning due to the presence of few unofficial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones in the airspace, state news agency WAM said.
Officials said that the drones were flown for recreational purpose by members of the public and that they were not part of an authorised exercise.
Mohammed Abdulla Ahli, director-general of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), and CEO of Dubai Air Navigation Services, labelled such acts as “irresponsible” and warned that unauthorised drones could endanger the safety of air passengers.
”These UAVs are strictly prohibited in Dubai airspace for any purpose without a prior permit from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority,” he said.
The official also warned that legal action will be taken against offenders found flouting the rules that compromised the safety of the airspace.
Major General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, assistant to Dubai Police commander-in-general for exits affairs, said that authorities have taken all precautionary measures in line with international standards to ensure the safety of air navigation and diverted planes to Al Maktoum Airport.
He urged members of the community to observe laws and regulations when flying drones and to avoid blocking air traffic passage to ensure the safety of air aviation in the emirate.
Dubai’s airspace is one of the busiest in the UAE with air traffic growing at an average of seven per cent, according to DCAA.
Dubai is also the hub for fast growing carrier Emirates and opened its second international airport in 2013, further contributing to air traffic.