The world’s busiest international airport’s airspace was shut down for over an hour yesterday…

Dubai International Airport was brought to a halt for over an hour on Saturday due to the presence of an unofficial drone in the airport’s airspace.

The busy airspace was closed from 11.39am to 12.45pm, a total of 69 minutes due to “unauthorised drone activity”, Dubai Airports said.

The incident marks the second time in the past two years that a drone has caused problems at Dubai International Airport – the same thing happened in 2015. At the World Aviation Summit this year Michael Rudolph, the head of aviation regulation and safety at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), estimated that the airspace being closed down costs around Dhs3.6 million. This means the drone incident yesterday may have cost Dubai close to Dhs254 million.

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Flights scheduled to arrive at Dubai International Airport were diverted to nearby airports including Al Maktoum International, Sharjah Airport and Fujairah Airport, whereas flights set to depart from Dubai International suffered delays.

A statement released by Dubai Airports read, “Dubai Airports is working closely with its stakeholders to restore operations and minimise customer inconvenience.

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“Safety is our top priority and Dubai Airports reminds all UAV operators that any and all activities are not permitted unless authorised by Regulatory authorities and are strictly prohibited in restricted areas including within 5 kilometers of any airport or landing area.”

In January 2015, a similar incident suspended air traffic at Dubai International for 55 minutes, leading to a reported loss of Dhs202 million.

Since then, a series of no-fly zones were set up around the city, with those caught flying their drones in the designated no-fly areas liable to face fines of up to Dhs1 million.

*More: Drone no-fly zones set across Dubai*

Dubai’s drone no-fly zones can be seen here:

Drone users are also required to register themselves as either a hobbyist, commercial user, professional, visitor or government entity, and will receive a different coloured registration card that they can then show to authorities.

Once registered, the desired area for filming will have to be assessed, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Here is a number of guidelines to follow when flying drones from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority:

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