DUBAI (AFP) – A drone forced Dubai international airport, one of the world’s busiest, to halt air traffic for an hour and a half Saturday evening, the third such incident in less than five months.
Air space around the airport was closed from 7:25 pm to 8:49 pm (1525-1649 GMT) “due to unauthorised drone activity resulting in flight diversions”, said operator Dubai Airports.
The General Civil Aviation Authority said the airport at Sharjah, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) away, was closed for a similar period of time as a precaution because of the same drone.
Dubai Airports stressed in a tweet that safety was its top priority and reminded drone operators that it is forbidden to fly them within five kilometres (three miles) of any airport.
On September 28 the airport was shut for about half an hour because of an unauthorised drone while on June 12 it was forced to close for more than an hour for the same reason.
UAE authorities have announced their intention to tighten the rules on the purchase and use of drones and the penalties for violating them.
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.