Two flights were diverted to nearby airports due to suspected drone activity in the surroundings of Dubai International Airport.

The incident occurred on 22 September between 12:36pm and 12:51pm local time (GMT+0400).

Emirates flight EK433, from Brisbane to Dubai with a layover at Singapore, was diverted to Dubai World Central (DWC).

A second Emirates flight EK511, from Delhi to Dubai, was diverted to Sharjah International Airport.

Covid-19 Report — Updated twice a week Understanding the Covid-19 outbreak, the economic impact and implications for specific sectors

Covid-19 executive briefing report cover
GlobalData

Our parent business intelligence company

Both flights later returned to the airport after the reopening of the airspace.

The incident occurred after repeated warnings from the authorities that such actions violate the airport’s unauthorised aerial activity regulations.

Emirates assisted the passengers with alternative booking options.

How optimistic are you about your company’s growth prospects?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Emirates said that “it places the highest priority on the safety of its passengers and crew, and it will not compromise on this.”

Similar drone activity occurred at Dubai International Airport on 15 February, causing flights to halt between 10.13am and 10.45am as a precautionary measure to safeguard travellers.

London’s Gatwick Airport closed for approximately 36 hours in December 2018 due to threats posed by illegal drones flying near its runway. It caused widespread disruption and led to the cancellation of approximately 1,000 flights.

Heathrow Airport also had to temporarily halt all departing flights in January after a drone was spotted flying near the airfield.

Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports have subsequently announced that they will acquire military-grade anti-drone equipment to deal with illegal drone flights near airfields.

Last month, environmental activists planned to disrupt services at London’s Heathrow Airport to protest against the government’s decision to construct a third runway at the airport.

The activists planned to halt operations at the busiest UK airport by flying toy drones on 13 September. The plan failed as the activists faced technical difficulties.