If you’re looking for a bird’s-eye view of Dubai’s airport, don’t even think about using a drone.

It’s happened a few times now.

The airspace around DXB International has been disrupted due to unauthorised drone invasions, causing flight diversions and full-on shut downs.

And it’s a pricey process – because for each minute that the airspace is closed, it costs Dubai Airports roughly Dhs3.6 million.

Since June 2016, there have been three separate incidents involving the closure of airspace at DXB from unauthorised drone activity, and Emirates are urging residents to refrain from using the sky-high devices.

“Sending an aircraft to an alternative airport and managing delays to arrivals or departures are not as straightforward as it sounds,” said Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and COO.

“There is always a ripple effect on the rest of our hub operations in terms of securing our passengers’ flight connections.

“Ensuring our disrupted customers are cared for, planning the return of aircraft to support other scheduled flights and a myriad of other arrangements to manage the disruption from crew to catering to ground handling.”

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Earlier this week, DXB’s airspace was closed for 80 minutes, resulting in the diversion of 22 inbound flights, including 11 operated by Emirates.

Based on the projected cost of closure, that 80 minutes would’ve cost Dubai Airports around Dhs288 million.

“Safety is always the number one priority in our business,” said Al Redha. “Ensuring safe flight operations by closing the airspace when there is unauthorised drone activity, or other airspace incursions, is the right thing to do.”


Ever since the incidents involving DXB International’s airspace, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) have established a series of no-fly zones in the city.

The zones marked red are complete no-fly zones, and can incur fines of up to Dhs1 million for those who break them.

Green areas require permission from the DCAA for all flights.

All drone users are required to register themselves as either a hobbyist, commercial user, professional, visitor or government entity.

Once registered, the desired area for filming will have to be assessed, which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

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Images: Getty