‘Keep an eye on drones’

Air­port chief hits out over shut­down

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi nawal@7days.ae

A drone user who sparked the clo­sure of Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port may have cost the econ­omy “mil­lions of dol­lars”, the trans­port hub’s chief ex­ec­u­tive has said.

Paul Grif­fiths yes­ter­day said the 69-minute clo­sure on Satur­day “caused ma­jor in­con­ve­nience to thou­sands of pas­sen­gers”. He said 22 flights were di­verted, 16 of those to Dubai World Cen­tral.

Speak­ing on The Busi­ness Break­fast on ra­dio sta­tion Dubai Eye 103.8, he also urged the public to re­port any drone sight­ings to po­lice.

He said: “The in­ci­dent caused ma­jor in­con­ve­nience to thou­sands of pas­sen­gers. This is a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent and we take our cus­tomers’ and staff’s safety very se­ri­ously.

“There are clear re­stric­tions and no-fly zones around all air­ports in the UAE. This type of ac­tiv­ity is il­le­gal.

“The Gen­eral Civil Avi­a­tion Author­ity [GCAA] put in clear guide­lines in April last year of how drones can be used.

“Own­ers have to be reg­is­tered, and all the guide­lines are on the GCAA web­site. “Any­one that strays out of the guide­lines, must be dealt with ap­pro­pri­ately by the au­thor­i­ties.” Speak­ing about the po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial im­pact, Grif­fiths said: “Sixty-nine min­utes is not a short time, if you’ve got as much ac­tiv­ity as Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port. “It’s very dif­fi­cult to es­ti­mate how much it costs, as I don’t know where to stop. Do we in­clude the in­con­ve­nience of trav­ellers or the missed busi­ness meet­ings? “There­fore, it will be many thou­sands, if not mil­lions of dol­lars.” In Jan­uary 2015, the same air­port was closed for a sim­i­lar pe­riod of time af­ter a drone in­ci­dent. Ex­perts es­ti­mated it cost the Dubai econ­omy about $1 mil­lion for ev­ery minute the hub was closed. Grif­fiths added: “If you see any drone ac­tiv­ity close to the air­port, phone the po­lice im­me­di­ately.”

WARN­ING: Paul Grif­fiths

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.