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Air embargo only for Qatar companies

Passengers wait at the Hamad International Airport in the Qatari capital Doha. — AFP

Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh/Abu Dhabi/Manama — The air embargo imposed on Qatar only applies to airlines from Qatar or registered there, the Saudi, UAE and Bahraini civil aviation authorities announced Tuesday.

The embargo bans “all Qatari aviation companies and aircraft registered in the state of Qatar” from landing or transiting through the airspace of the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the statements issued by the three countries.

The ban does not apply to aviation companies and aircraft not registered in Qatar and the three neighboring countries, and which wish to cross their airspace to and from Qatar, they said.

An exception is made for private planes and charter flights to or from Qatar, which require permission to transit through the airspace of the three countries, the statements said.

A permission request must be submitted 24 hours in advance and include a list of the names and nationalities of both crew and passengers, as well as the nature of cargo on board.

The aviation bodies of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also said that the closure of their airspaces to flights from Qatar was within their sovereign right to protect their citizens from any threat.

The airspace closure was to protect the three countries and their citizens from anything they see as a threat and as a precautionary measure, the separate statements said.

In all, 18 destinations in the region are now out of bounds for Qatar Airways, whose offices have been closed in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Qatar has asked the United Nations’ aviation agency to intervene in the airspace rights’ issue.

Qatar has sent a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) governing council in an effort to resolve the dispute. ICAO spokesman William Raillant-Clark said the agency could not make an immediate comment.

The UN aviation agency, which is headquartered in Montreal, does not impose binding rules, but wields clout through safety and security standards that are usually followed by its 191-member countries.

The aviation authorities of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain also affirmed their commitment to international resolutions on the fight against terrorism and aviation security, particularly the Security Council Resolution No. 2309, adopted by the Security Council at its 7775th session in 2016, in which it expressed its commitment to the sovereignty of all States, including their sovereignty over airspace above their territories, territorial integrity, and political independence in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The Security Council also expressed its concern in the same resolution that civil aviation may be used as a means of transporting foreign terrorist fighters, and noted in this regard that Annex 9 Governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, concluded in Chicago on Dec. 7, 1944 termed “Chicago Convention,” recommends standards and practices related to the detection and prevention of terrorist threats related to civil aviation.

The aviation authorities of the three Gulf countries said that they would exercise their right to impose further measures that could guarantee the security and safety of their sovereign airspace from any threat or risk in accordance with the laws and conventions governing the movement of air traffic over their airspace. — With agencies

Posted by: TimesofSaudia.com courtesy Saudi Gazette