Qatar Airways Slams Blockading Quartet with $5 Billion Compensation
Gulf country Qatar’s state-owned flag carrier, Qatar Airways has launched an international arbitration to seek at least $5 billion from four Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – as compensation for blocking the airlines from flying over their airspace and removing it from their markets.
Since June 2017, the four Middle Eastern countries have banned Qatar Airways from using their airspace after they cut all ties with Qatar and imposed a land, air and sea blockade. The blockading quartet accused Qatar of funding terrorism – a claim that Doha has always denied, saying the quartet aims to infringe on its sovereignty.
In a statement, Qatar Airways said that the countries have targeted the airline to end its operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain, crippling its investments while disrupting its global operations.
“The decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to,” Akbar al-Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, said.
“After more than three years of efforts to resolve the crisis amicably through dialogue yielded no results, we have taken the decision to issue Notices of Arbitration and pursue all legal remedies to protect our rights and secure full compensation for the violations. The blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, which includes a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements and international law,” he added.
The move to seek compensation comes a week after Qatar won a procedural dispute before the United Nations’ International Court of Justice, which allowed the International Civil Aviation Organisation to rule in a case Doha presented over the imposed air blockade.
The International Court of Justice rejected an appeal brought forward by the blockading quartet (Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE) against a decision by the world civil aviation body in favour of Qatar over sovereign airspace.
A number of efforts made by the United States and Kuwait to end the crisis have failed. Recently, when Qatar entered the fourth year of the blockade, the US pushed Saudi Arabia and the UAE to lift the ban on Qatar Airways and allow the country to use their airspace. However, the UAE meddled in and tried to persuade Saudi to continue with the blockade.
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