This is a big deal – not only does it delay passengers, but the airspace being closed down costs around Dhs3.6 million a minute…

The airspace around Dubai International was completely closed off this morning for almost half an hour (and was restricted for a whole hour).

Why? Well because of an unauthorised drone spotted in DXB’s jurisdiction (which is the third busiest airspace in the world).

“Safety is our top priority,” said Dubai Airports of the closure.

“Airspace around Dubai International was closed from 0808 hrs to 0835 hrs this morning due to unauthorised drone activity resulting in a number of delays at the airport. Arrival operations resumed at 0835 hrs and departures at 0840 hrs with some restrictions,” the airports explained in a statement.

“Full operations were resumed at 0907 hrs. Dubai Airports is working closely with its stakeholders to minimise customer inconvenience.

“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 kilometres of any airport or landing area.”


The incident marks the fourth time in the past two years that a drone has caused problems at Dubai International Airport – in June this year a drone closed the airspace from 11.39am to 12.45pm.

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 a minute.

Just this week the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said there was an urgent need to implement further drone laws in the UAE, as there is little to currently stop an individual from buying a drone and using it illegally.


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

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.

Waleed Al Riyami, an air navigation inspector at the Civil Aviation Authority, told the Khaleej Times that it takes between one and two weeks for drone applications to be approved – or rejected. “If a camera is involved, the application needs security approval from the Ministry of Defence,” he told the paper. 


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