Qatar Airways has begun flying over the embargo countries under international agreements that Doha has recently used to put pressure on the four countries boycotting Qatar.
Qatar Television stated that “Qatar Airways is flying in the airspace of the embargo countries under the power of law,” quoting Abdullah bin Nasser Turki Al-Subaey, Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority.
On Monday Al-Subaey announced that he would activate an air route he described as “important” for Qatar Airways, over the international waters that the UAE is responsible for in the Gulf. This means breaking the air embargo imposed on Qatar since June, according to CNN reports.
Yesterday Qatar Television broadcast an interview with Al-Subaey during which he declared that “most of the airways requested by Qatar from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have been opened, whether in the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea or the Gulf of Oman”.
The ICAO was established by the Chicago Convention and is a specialised agency of the UN that coordinates and regulates air travel.
Al-Subaey explained that “the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority is currently studying new airways through international waters,” pointing out that “it will be opened once approved by all parties, including the ICAO”.
He also stressed that “the adoption of the new air routes is a great success for Qatar, due to its ability to convince the International Civil Aviation Organisation that the compliance of the embargo countries to the Chicago Convention is important”.
Al-Subaey pointed out that “the new airways that have been adopted provide more comfort, security and safety for the aircraft”.
The ICAO announced that Bahrain and the UAE had agreed to open air routes for Qatar Airways but Riyadh denied doing so.
Yesterday evening the ICAO’s spokesperson Anthony Philbin declared in a statement to France Press Agency that the ICAO worked with “various Middle Eastern countries to ensure fair entry of Qatari registered aircrafts to their airspace”.
He added that “a number of existing airlines have been confirmed and a number of temporary or emergency airways have been opened”.
Qatar lodged a complaint to the ICAO criticising the blockading countries of closing their airspace and accusing them of violating the law. The ICAO responded to Qatar’s complaint and called on all countries to abide by the Chicago Convention, forcing them to declare the opening of three emergency airspaces across Bahrain and UAE.
On 5 June Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced severing ties with Qatar and imposed an air and land blockade on them for supporting terrorism, a charge which Qatar denies.