Travelers at Dubai International Airport found themselves temporarily delayed on Friday morning after an unauthorized drone was seen over a terminal, according to Business Insider.
Rogue drones have been increasingly seen at airports in the last few months, including one that shut down Gatwick Airport in December, causing delays and flight cancellations. Dubai International Airport is the third busiest airport in the world, so even a short delay can cause massive problems.
According to Gizmodo, the airport was shut down between 10:13 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. local time, in order to assess the situation. The Dubai Media Office confirmed in a tweet that “operations at Dubai International are back to normal after less than 30 minutes of delay due to unauthorized drone activity.”
Allegedly, drone sightings have interrupted airport operations in Dubai in the past, according to the Evening Standard. Planes cannot safely take off while drones are seen in the area, since it could lead to a crash, much like when a British Airways plane hit a drone at London Heathrow International Airport back in 2016.
This is why the United Arab Emirates strictly forbid drones on airport premises. According to a tweet by the Dubai Media Office, “flying drones without obtaining permission is subject to legal liability as per UAE laws.”
According to the Evening Standard, all drone owners must also register with the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority in order to operate their devices legally. Cameras and lasers are also prohibited.
Some passengers posted on Twitter during the delay. One passenger claimed his flight was “stuck for ages” while taxiing on the runway, waiting to take off.
The owner of the drone is unknown. Back in 2016, Dubai International Airport announced that it would be testing out “drone hunter” aircraft to help counteract the drone trend. However, it seems the technology isn’t as effective as desired.