Teens caught flying drones near airport
Police considering legal action after UAV group gets too close to DXB
A group of teenagers had their drones confiscated and could face legal action after police discovered them flying the devices close to Dubai International Airport.
The alert is the latest incident over UAE airspace, although it did not cause the hugely disruptive shutdowns that previous incursions have. Dubai Police said the force and the airport is using radar and police patrols to track drone users before they spark chaos.
Dubai Airports and Emirates Airline last week urged the authorities to act following the shutdowns in October, September and June.
Both organisations said airspace closures have cost them and the economy millions of dirhams in losses.
General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Chief of Dubai Police for Criminal Investigations, said: “We are implementing strict orders by the chief of police to step up patrols around the airport to prevent drones entering the flight path airspace.
“We spotted several drones near Dubai Airport recently and managed to identify and question the owners. They were young people practising their hobby but they didn’t have a licence to fly a drone.
“They told us it’s just a hobby – but such hobbies can cause millions of dirhams in losses, even if the airport is shut for a few minutes.”
Al Mansouri added: “We confiscated the drones and told them it’s forbidden and illegal to use the drones near the air space of the airport.” He declined to say how old the teens were and how many were questioned. He did say the force is considering legal action against them. General Ahmed Mohammed bin Thani, Assistant Chief of Dubai Police for Port Affairs, said a team has been formed with Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and Dubai Airports to combat drone incursions. He said: “The committee will find solutions in order that the airport will not be shut again. These drones fly for 10 to 20 seconds up to 300 feet up and it’s hard for police to spot [from the ground]. “If the airport’s control tower detects any strange or unfamiliar object moving within three miles of the space allocated for landing and take off, air traffic is halted immediately.” He said it is up to police to ensure the drone is intercepted before that closure happens. Last week, Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, urged the “authorities to take strong measures and impose penalties to discourage future occurrences and also consider implementing drone detectors at the airport”. He said 5,000 Emirates passengers alone had been caught up in the closure on October 29, and the closures had “cost Emirates airline millions of dirhams on each occasion”. firstname.lastname@example.org