The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) must demand from the blockading countries the “unconditional opening of their airspace and not in bits and pieces,” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker has said.
“It is the job of ICAO to demand from these countries the unconditional opening of the airspace - not restricting only on high seas, but unconditional opening of the airspace into their flight information region (FIR) minus their territorial airspace.
“It is the duty of ICAO, who allocates FIRs to countries, to administer international airspace,” al-Baker said in reply to a question by Gulf Times at a media event in Doha on Wednesday.
Recently, the Montreal-based ICAO asked all member-states to abide by and comply with the Chicago Convention, and continue co-operation regarding aviation’s safety and security and international civil aviation’s efficiency and sustainability.
The directive was issued after the ICAO Council Extraordinary Session was held at the ministerial level in Montreal, Canada on Monday to examine Qatar’s requirement.
On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being an ally of Iran, charges that Doha denies.
The Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), was signed on December 7, 1944 by as many as 52 states.
Al-Baker also said Qatar Airways was evaluating whether to use air routes which media reports said were opened this week by countries embroiled in a political dispute with Qatar.
Qatari-owned aircraft are blocked from using the airspace of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE as part of economic sanctions enforced by the four countries on June 5.
ICAO recently said Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to open some of its airspace to Qatari aircraft.
The airspace closures have forced Qatar Airways to fly longer, spend more on fuel, prompting Doha to call for the intervention of ICAO, a UN body.
ICAO came into existence on April 4, 1947. In October of the same year, ICAO became a specialised agency of the United Nations linked to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).