Three Brits, one South African killed in small plane crash at Dubai International Airport

A small plane involved in work on a runway at Dubai International Airport crashed today, killing four people and halting traffic at the world's busiest airport for international travel for nearly an hour.

Authorities gave no explanation for what caused the crash of the aircraft, a Diamond DA62 with a tail number belonging to Flight Calibrations Service Ltd. of Shoreham, England.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said all four people on board, three British and one South African, were killed in the crash. It said the crash happened 5 kilometres south of the airport, without elaborating.

Dubai International Airport, home to long-haul carrier Emirates, is the world's busiest airport for international travel. The airport said it halted flights from 7:36 p.m. until 8:22 p.m. local time over the crash.

Flight Calibrations Service announced in November it signed a contract at Dubai International Airport to do work on its "navaids," beacons surrounding an airport that help pilots know where runways are and how to land. Dubai International Airport later told The Associated Press in a statement that the plane "was being used to calibrate the approach systems" at the airport.

An employee at Flight Calibrations Services, which has two Diamond DA62s stationed in the United Arab Emirates, declined to comment Thursday night.

The work comes as Dubai has shut down its southern runway to resurface it and replace all its lighting and supporting infrastructure. It closed on April 16 and officials hope to reopen it on May 30.

Dubai has cut back on some of its scheduled flights and redirected others to Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central, the city's second airport.

Dubai is a major city in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.

Dubai International Airport (file picture).
Dubai International Airport (file picture). Source: