UAE says Qatari fighter jets 'intercept' passenger plane

18 January, 2018, 14:11 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Qatar monitoring Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani incident

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar on 5 June over allegations it supported militants and had close ties with regional rival Iran.

The Ministry denounced the current escalation by Qatar, and called upon the country to abide by worldwide law and customs.

The agency said that, "The source considered that this action constitutes a threat to the safety of civil aviation and in violation of relevant global laws and conventions, taking into consideration that the statements of the General Authority of Civil Aviation of the UAE confirmed that the flights were "regular, scheduled, with well-known route and meet the approvals and internationally recognised necessary permits".

Qatar strongly rejected the claims, describing them as a "systematic attack" by the UAE to draw attention away from its own violations of Qatari airspace.

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In recent weeks, Qatar has twice accused UAE planes of breaching their airspace.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority on Monday announced that Qatar's military aircraft intercepted a civilian UAE plane when it was on its way to Manama in Bahrain.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani released a video statement on Sunday saying he was "a prisoner" in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, and that if anything happened to him, "Sheikh Mohammed" is responsible.

Suwaidi declined to name the airlines operating the two flights, which he said had been forced to delay their descent into Bahrain International Airport as Qatari fighter jets came within little more than three kms. Two other radar signals described as Qatari fighter jets flew at around 2,590 meters (8,500 feet) and crossed briefly in front of the Emirates plane's flight path.

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It follows two complaints by Qatar to the United Nations about Emirati military aircraft allegedly violating its worldwide airspace amid the diplomatic crisis. Responding to this, foreign ministry spokesperson HE Lulua al-Khater had told QNA that Qatar was closely monitoring the situation.

Abu Dhabi is also looking at re-routing flights to Bahrain to avoid Qatari airspace, as a feud between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours escalates.

Even if an Emirates passenger jet had flown over Qatar, this wouldn't be grounds for an interception.

But Bahrain's civil aviation authority identified the aircraft as Emirates flight EK837 and Etihad flight EY23B. UAE filed the second complaint with the United Nations last week.

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With the the Middle East's aviation market set grow by five percent and see an extra 258 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2035, according to IATA, the Gulf states should be working together to strengthen the aviation region of the Gulf as a whole, as such a dispute will only further discourage wary travellers away from the Gulf.

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