One of the world's biggest airports has been forced to shut down three times this year, due to unauthorized drones trespassing the airspace.
For each minute it’s closed, Dubai International Airport loses $1 million, according to CNN Money . The most recent closure, on October 29, lasted approximately 90 minutes and caused 22 flights to be diverted to other airports.
In response, the airport is now testing a “drone hunter.”
The drone hunter is a remote-controlled aircraft that locks onto rogue drones, and follows them back to their owners. The machine then sends the coordinates back to Dubai police who follow up.
If the drone hunter trial is successful, the airport could fully implement an army of the machines by the end of the year.
Fines for trespassing on Dubai airspace with a drone range anywhere from $130 to $27,000, depending on the air traffic impact.
After last week’s closure, Emirates Airline called upon Dubai authorities to take stronger action against drones operating in the no-fly zone. Half of the diverted flights from the incident were operated by the airline.
“Flight diversions and extensive holding are costly. Financial aspects aside, there is huge inconvenience to passengers,” Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ executive vice president and chief operations officer, told The National. “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.”
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, airport authorities have a less technical way to take care of rogue drones: They trained bald eagles to swoop in and snatch up any trespassers in the airspace.
“Sometimes the solution to a hypermodern problem is more obvious than you might think,” the co-founder of the eagle training academy said in a statement.