UAE and Bahrain sovereign airspaces remain closed to Qatar Airways

10 August 2017

International body said on 8 August “some airspace” has been opened

The UAE government said access to Qatar Airways has been granted only in the airspace above the international waters that it manages and that the country’s sovereign airspace remain closed to Qatar-registered aircraft.

Bahrain has also said the kingdom‘s sovereign airspace remains closed to all planes owned by or registered in Qatar.

On 8 August, a spokesperson for UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICA) indicated that Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have agreed to open some of their airspace to Qatar Airways.

The flight corridors that were agreed were understood to include existing as well as new temporary or contingency routes for Qatar Airways.

ICAO has been working with Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to reach an agreement on access to airspace for Qatar Airways since June, when the Saudi-led states closed their air space to Qatar as a result of the latest diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbours.

Since then, residents in the blockading countries travelling to Qatar have had to fly via airports in Oman and Kuwait and take a second flight from these airports to reach Doha. This has extended average travel time from under one hour to almost five hours.

ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said the three countries – Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE – are monitoring air traffic management measures and they may be subject to “more changes in the future, if needed, by mutual agreement.”

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