Qatar’s national news portal, AlJazeera reported last night that Qatar Airways has now been granted permission to fly over international waters in the Gulf controlled by Bahrain and the UAE.
This follows about two months after Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE put sanctions on Qatar, accusing the country of supporting terrorism. As part of the blockade, they closed their airspace to all Qatari-registered aircraft. It resulted in Qatar Airways having to fly longer routes to arrive at its destinations — for example, to Southeast Asian countries.
The Qatari media reported that Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has been working with the Middle Eastern states to allow Qatari-registered aircraft fair access to airspace.
AlJazeera quoted ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin: “Some existing air route availability has been assured, and some new temporary or contingency routes have also been developed. The ICAO and the states involved are continuously monitoring related air route suitability and ATM (air traffic management) measures, which may still be subject to further modification if necessary, by mutual agreement.”
The changes have emerged after a closed door meeting in Montreal with the UN aviation agency’s governing council. Qatar Airways had put forth its case stating that airspace restrictions are dangerous and illegal.