No legal basis for Qatar Airways flights ban: QICCA

The Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) said the “brutal and unjust” siege imposed on Qatar contravenes all international charters and conventions.Speaking to Qatari newspaper Al Arab, QICCA board member Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani said the siege countries’ agreement to ban Qatar Airways from overflying their airspace was meant to undermine the airline, as none of the civil aviation officials from these countries submitted any proof on threats to their security due to the overflights by Qatari aircraft, confirming there is no legal basis to such a decision under the 1944 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation and its amendments. Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani said the real reason the siege countries banned Qatari flights is purely commercial, and the action aims to slow down and undermine the growth of Qatar Airways, which has made progress in the global commercial aviation industry, making it one of the best air carriers in the world. The presence of Qatar Airways in the global aviation market became a source of concern to other international, regional and Gulf carriers, especially UAE airlines as it engaged in a legitimate competition with them and offered the best flight services to its passengers, he added. Dr al-Thani said Qatar Airways has become a global player and a strong competitor in the global aviation market by occupying a prominent position among other global carriers and has recently been ranked as the World’s Best Airline by SKYTRAX, described as the Oscars of the aviation industry. Dr al-Thani said Qatar Airways’ success irritated the siege countries as it announced in 2016 that it bought 100 Boeing airplanes of different types and sizes worth more than $90bn, making it one of the largest aircraft purchase orders in history. He added that Qatar Airways flies to 150 destinations around the world covering Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Asia-Pacific region and North and South America. Dr al-Thani said banning Qatar Airways’ flights must be seen as a procedure aimed at causing business and economic loss to the airline, benefiting the three countries’ airlines companies. This is supported by the article published by a Saudi economic magazine on June 6, 2017, which stated that a closed meeting was held in Jeddah by a number of civil aviation officials from Saudi Arabia and the UAE to distribute and reschedule Qatar Airways’ share in the Saudi market, he added. Hesaid the forced expulsion of Qatar Airways from the three countries’ markets resulted in an increase in the number of flights between Riyadh and Dubai in favour of the Saudia airlines, it also increased the flights between Medina, Dammam and Dubai by 70 weekly trips with an average of three trips daily. Dr al-Thani said Qatar Airways’ market share has been rescheduled and distributed between five Saudi and Emirati airlines amounting to 15% of the Saudi market size, which was acquired by Qatar Airways alone. Other international flights such as to the UK and Australia have also been distributed. Dr al-Thani added the unjust siege on Qatar is a violation of all joint agreements and family ties that bind the countries. He stressed that Qatar is a sovereign state and will never accept anyone’s interference in its decisions.

Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar