Dubai authorities are faced with a very unusual problem which is making their skies unsafe for air travel. After the plunging prices of drone technology, a number of people have bought them creating drone ‘traffic’ in the emirate’s skies, which is creating problems for the regular aircrafts.
Just last year, the Dubai airport had to be closed three times because drones were covering the entire area, jeopardizing the security of the passengers. Due to the delays, thousands of travellers were affected and it cost millions of dollars to the airlines.
Since Dubai airport is one of the world’s busiest airports, a solution to this problem needs to be reached soon before things get out of hands.
Drones pose a “threat to the flying public” and “to an aircraft in operation,” said Ismaeil al-Blooshi, deputy head of the air safety department of the United Arab Emirates´ civil aviation authority.
He compared drones to the threat posed by birds, but said they were less predictable and harder to avoid.
“We have means and data to predict when and where is the bird migration… but with drones, you have this object in the air and you don´t know the intentions” of the operator, he said.
Blooshi also said that the cost of closing airports runs into millions, but that is not even taken into consideration as passengers’ safety is the top priority.
Meanwhile people are mostly using drones for photography purposes and boast about the numerous ways it has helped.
“The drone has helped us all. Before we needed a plane and a big budget to do aerial shooting. It´s much easier and cheaper now,” said videographer Murad al-Masri, as he shot footage of a desert festival.
New regulations have come into place according to which it is illegal to fly drones within five kilometers of airports. Whoever violates these rules can end up in jail for three years or will have to pay a fine of 100,000 dirhams.