Dubai International Airport suspended its operation on October 29 due to unauthorized drones intruding the airspace. The closure lasted about 90 minutes and triggered hundreds of passengers waiting.
"Emirates is making all efforts to ensure minimal disruption to passengers, and assist affected passengers. Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused but the safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance and will not be compromised," the spokesperson said in a report by Gulf News.
To prevent the same incident to happen again, the airport is now deploying a "drone hunter." The device is a remote-controlled aircraft that attaches into rogue drones. It will monitor the direction of the drone back to their owners. It will give a go-signal to Dubai police who will follow up and investigate. Under civil aviation law in the UAE, the fine for trespassing using a drone is Dh100, 000 or imprisonment for up to three years.
In an article of The National, Adel Al Redha, Emirates' executive vice president and chief operations officer said, "Flight diversions and extensive holding are costly. Financial aspects aside, there is huge inconvenience to passengers. It has a negative effect on Emirates' reputation. Sending an aircraft to an alternative airport and managing delays to arrivals or departures is not as straightforward as it sounds."
Over 400 drones have been registered with the General Civil Aviation Authority for commercial purposes such as real estate, oil and gas industry and agriculture. Presently drones can be bought from retailers all over UAE. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi banned the selling of drones last year because of the risks posed to the aviation industry.
"The challenge that we are facing is people are not aware of the requirements. Several incidents have happened in the UAE caused by individuals who are not familiar with our requirements and they fly the drones," Mohammad Al Dossary, director of air navigation and aerodromes department said in an interview. Several same incidents were recorded, one of which happened on June 11 when Dubai Airport operation was stopped for 69 minutes and 22 flights were diverted to neighboring airports like Fujairah airport, Al Maktoum International and Sharjah airport.
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