Three Britons have died after a light aircraft crashed near Dubai International Airport, authorities have said.

A South African person on board was also killed when the small plane came down about three miles south of the busy transport hub.

Flights were halted for 46 minutes on Thursday from 7.36pm to 8.22pm (local time).

The four-seater Diamond DA42, registered in the UK, had been involved in upgrading a runway and was used to “calibrate the approach systems”, the airport said.

The plane is owned by Honeywell, which provides engineering services and aerospace systems, and is registered to Flight Calibrations Service Ltd, based in Shoreham in West Sussex, the AP news agency reported.

The Dubai Media Office tweeted that the “relevant teams are on the scene”.

It added that an “accident involving a small plane with four passengers occurred”.

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A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with the Emirati authorities following reports of a small aircraft crash in Dubai.”

An investigation has begun and air traffic has returned to normal.

Dubai airport
Image: Dubai International Airport is the world’s busiest for international passenger traffic

Flight Calibrations Service said in November that it had signed a contract to work on the UAE airport’s “navaids” – beacons which help pilots to locate runways and to land.

On 16 April, the airport’s southern runway was closed so it could be resurfaced and all its lighting and supporting infrastructure replaced. It is set to re-open on 30 May.

Dubai International Airport is the world’s busiest when measured by international passenger traffic.

It is also the busiest airport for Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 movements.

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