Commodities

Two flights diverted from Dubai due to suspected drones

Two flights were diverted from Dubai International Airport on Sunday due to suspected drone activity, the hub's operator said, at least the second disruption of its kind there this year.

Adds Dubai Media Office

DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Two flights were diverted from Dubai International Airport on Sunday due to suspected drone activity, the hub's operator said, at least the second disruption of its kind there this year.

Arrivals were disrupted for about 15 minutes after midday (0800 GMT), said a spokesman for Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the world's busiest airport for international travel. The airport is usually quiet at that time of day.

"A 'drone' aircraft was spotted in an area next to the airport," Dubai Media Office said in a statement, adding a reminder that drone use near airports was banned.

The UAE government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities temporarily grounded flights at Dubai International Airport in February, again due to suspected drones.

Dubai Airports has previously blamed drone incursions on leisure users unaware of the law or of how close they are to flying aircraft.

In July 2018 the UAE denied reports that Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement had attacked Abu Dhabi airport with a drone, and said operations were unaffected.

The UAE is a leading partner in a Saudi-led coalition which has been fighting the Houthis in Yemen for more than four years.

The Houthis on Wednesday said it had dozens of targets in the UAE "within our sight ... and can be attacked at any time".

This followed a Houthi claim that they carried out a major Sept. 14 attack on two Saudi oil plants with drones and cruise missiles that initially halved Saudi oil production.

Riyadh says the attack could not have come from Yemen and, alongside Washington, blames Iran.

In December, major disruption was caused at London's Gatwick airport after drones were spotted near the airfield, raising concerns globally about the vulnerability of airports to unmanned aerial vehicles.

(Reporting by Alex Cornwell, Maha El Dahan, Hadeel El Sayegh, Sylvia Westall and Ghaida Ghantous Writing by Lisa Barrington Editing by Deepa Babington)

((lisa.barrington@thomsonreuters.com;))

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