September 28, 2016 / 8:42 AM / 2 years ago

Dubai airport shuts airspace for nearly 30 mins due to drone activity

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international travel, closed its airspace for almost 30 minutes on Wednesday morning due to unauthorized drone activity, causing flights to be disrupted for nearly an hour.

It is at least the second time in recent months that the airport’s airspace was closed because of nearby drone activity.

On its Twitter feed, government-owned Dubai Airports, which operates Dubai’s two main airports, said airspace around Dubai International was closed from 8.08am to 8.35am, resulting in a number of flight delays. Arrivals resumed at 8.35am and departures at 8.40am, with full operations resuming at 9.07am, it said.

“Safety is our top priority and we remind all UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] operators that activities are not permitted within 5km of any airport or landing area,” it added.

Around the world the use of civil drones, whether for commercial purposes or just as a leisure activity, is rising.

The United Arab Emirates will soon finalize laws to more heavily regulate drones, aiming to minimize risks posed by unmanned aerial vehicles, an official at the aviation regulator said on Monday.

In June, Dubai International Airport closed its airspace for 69 minutes due to unauthorized drone activity, causing 22 flights to be diverted.

Reporting By Tom Arnold; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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