Qatari planes now allowed to travel in UAE-managed airspace
For emergencies only… the nine routes will begin on August 1…
Civil aviation authorities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain have announced that they will be opening up nine air routes for Qatari planes to travel through in the event of an emergency.
The opening of the agreed emergency routes, located in overseas areas managed by the UAE, is scheduled to begin from August 1 and is being undertaken in coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
One of the nine routes will be over the Mediterranean and is managed by Egypt.
It should be noted that the routes are exclusively for emergency situations – think an on-board medical or technical issue – and not for standard commercial or cargo aircraft.
The move comes after the four countries cut ties with Qatar in June, which led to both Saudi and the UAE closing off their airspace to all Qatari planes due to their concerns over the GCC state supporting terrorist organisations.
While this doesn’t signify a major shift in the stance taken by the four Arab states towards Qatar, a source at the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) told state news agency WAM that “such a step confirms our commitment to the safety of regional and international air navigation, given that it is a standard practice in similar circumstances,”
In a recent interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Youssef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, backed his country’s position with some candid words, “We are ready to sit down with Qatar tomorrow and negotiate the 13 demands, if the Qataris are willing to say that they’re ready to negotiate. So far they haven’t been able to say that. We want a solution. The solution has to be a diplomatic solution. The willingness to find a solution needs to lie not in Riyadh, not in Abu Dhabi, but in Doha.”