Dubai International Airport briefly grounded all air traffic on Friday after unauthorized drones were seen close the airport. The closure was brief, only lasting just under 30 minutes between 10:13 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., per a New York Times report.
Dubai’s state media office later tweeted that all activity had resumed as normal after the roughly 28-minute closure:
Dubai’s airport is the third largest in the world, and the biggest to see its operations stymied by drones encroaching upon its airspace. Three other airports, the U.K.’s Gatwick and Heathrow, and Newark International in New Jersey, have all experienced the sudden grounding of flights due to unauthorized drone activity in recent months. The case of Gatwick was especially prolonged and fraught, with 140,000 passengers missing flights as the military moved in to corral the rogue UAV.
Two suspects were detained for allegedly operating the Gatwick drone, but were later released with no charges. Authorities have made no other arrests concerning the other episodes, with some police even questioning whether there was actually a drone at Gatwick.
The issue has highlighted the fragility of major airports when presented with unauthorized drones. Dubai International airport, located in the United Arab Emirates, is the third largest in the world, with an estimated 90 million passengers travelling through it this year, per the Dubai’s media office. So far, no suspects have been apprehended, and Dubai’s media office maintains “that flying drones without obtaining permission is subject to legal liability as per UAE laws.”
Drones present obvious safety concerns: The possibility of a disastrous crash is likely with unauthorized drones hovering above a tarmac, with air traffic controllers and pilots unable to predict their movements or maybe even see the rogue aircraft. Though no drones have brought down any commercial aircraft to date, various studies probing the impact of such a scenario have offered calamitous results.
Source: The New York Times
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics