Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

GCAA denies reports of eased airspace restrictions for Qatar planes

Airspace restrictions put in place by Saudi, Bahrain and UAE in June

The UAE's airspace remains blocked to Qatari planes. Naseem Zeitoon / Reuters
The UAE's airspace remains blocked to Qatari planes. Naseem Zeitoon / Reuters

The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority denied reports that it has lifted restrictions on Qatari-registered aircraft from using its airspace.

“The General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates denies allowing aircraft registered in the State of Qatar to cross the sovereign airspace of the state,” the authority said in an a statement on Wednesday.

“Those aircraft are only allowed to use the airspace managed by the UAE above international waters.

Media reports on Wednesday afternoon suggested that Bahrain and the UAE had agreed to open parts of their airspace for use by Qatari aircraft.

A spokesman for the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization said that the flight corridors include existing as well as new "temporary or contingency" routes for Qatar Airways.

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) also denied the reports

“Reports claiming that Qatar Airways planes are using the airspace of some of the countries boycotting Doha are totally untrue,” Al Riyadh newspaper reported citing the Saudi authority.

“The airspace from the west of Saudi Arabia is sovereign and Qatar is banned from using it,” GACA statement said.


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Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar al-Baker said on Wednesday the carrier was evaluating whether to use the supposedly-newly-opened air routes.

Al Baker said the airline was studying "the flexibility and benefit" of one "very short route" while another route off the Egyptian coast was "useless" to the airline, Mr Al Baker said at a Doha press conference, giving no further details.

Qatari-owned aircraft are blocked from using the airspace of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as part of sanctions enforced by the four countries since early June.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE severed ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of supporting Islamist militants.

The airspace closures have forced Qatar Airways to fly longer, more expensive routes, prompting Doha to call for the UN's International Civil Aviation Organization to intervene.

* With Reuters

Updated: August 9, 2017 06:01 PM



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