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Drone halts traffic at Dubai airport

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DUBAI: An unauthorised drone forced Dubai airport to halt air traffic for about half an hour on Wednesday in the second such incident in four months, the airport authority said.

Airspace around the world’s busiest airport for international flights was closed between 8:08 and 8:35 am (0408 and 0435 GMT) “due to unauthorised drone activity,” Dubai Airports said on its Twitter account.

“We are working to minimise inconvenience,” it added.

“Safety is our top priority and we remind all UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operators that activities are not permitted within five kilometres (three miles) of any airport or landing area.”

Those found guilty of flying drones within that limit are liable to heavy fines in the United Arab Emirates.

But since the earlier incident on June 12, which forced Dubai airport to close for 69 minutes, the UAE authorities have announced their intention to tighten the rules on the purchase and use of drones and the penalties for violating them.

Around 100 airlines fly to more than 260 destinations from Dubai, which is also home to major carrier Emirates.

More than 78 million passengers travelled through the airport last year.

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