‘Keep an eye on drones’
Airport chief hits out over shutdown
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