Saudi Arabia Closed Airspace to Flights From Qatar After Cutting Diplomatic Ties


On Tuesday, the aviation body of Saudi Arabia said the conclusion of its airspace to flights from Qatar was inside the Kingdom’s sovereign right to shield its citizens from any danger. The remarks came in response to comments on Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were violating international law by closing out Qatar flights. The closure of airspace was to protect the nation and its citizens from anything, it admires as a danger and as a protective step, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation said in a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

Alike statements were also made by the UAE and Bahraini aviation authority after a CNN interview of Chief Executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar-al-Baker, who condemned the three Arab countries for the airspace closing. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have been for quite a long time main defenders of open-skies policies, which remove limitations on flying between states. All these policies helped the region’s largest airlines (Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways) to come out as super connectors connecting travelers amongst East and West. The independent aviation consultant John Strickland told Reuters, “From an industry viewpoint, it’s unfortunate and disappointing when the airlines get caught up in broader political sensitivities which inhibit the benefits of competition and consumer choice, which the region is renowned for.”

A week ago, the Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, blaming them of instigating local agitation, supporting terrorism and getting extremely near Iran, all of which Doha denies. On the whole, 18 of the destinations in the region are currently out of bounds for Qatar Airways, which has also been forced to close its workplaces in UAE and Saudi Arabia. Al Baker had requested to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency that oversees the Chicago convention that ensures common overflights, to announce the airspace shutting as illegal. According to the report of UAE state news agency WAM, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority said that it is completely dedicated towards the Chicago convention, but that the state saves the sovereign right under international law to save its national security if important.

The three nations’ aviation bodies likewise said that non-Qatari private and chartered flights from Qatar must submit applications to them at least 24 hours before crossing the airspace. They said that the request must include a list of names and nationalities of crews and travelers, as well as the load carried by aircraft.


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