ICAO meet on Qatar’s air travel woes unlikely to make headway

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The United Nations agency overseeing global air travel has acknowledged receiving complaints from Qatar about other nations cutting off flying routes for its long-haul state carrier, Qatar Airways.

Those cuts have seen global air travel disrupted and threatened the airline's revenues.

After an initial run on grocery stores by nervous residents, Qatar has organized dairy shipments from Turkey while Iran also has begun shipping in food.

Doha also has begun running cargo shipments from ports in Oman after seeing its sea routes to the UAE’s major ports cut off. But its cutoff air travel routes remain problematic.

Typically, Qatar Airways flights West flew over Saudi Arabia. But with that airspace now closed off, the airline is flying longer routes over Iran and Turkey.

Its regional feeder flights in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also have been cut off.



Qatar has filed complaints to the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency.

In a statement, the organization said it would host ministers and senior officials from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain on Thursday.

“For now, we are working to bring these states together towards a solution which satisfies both their current regional concerns and the global needs and expectations of passengers and shippers,” the statement said.

However, it remains unclear how the organization that doesn’t issue binding rules could force the Arab nations to reopen their airspace to Qatar.

“If I was betting now, I would suggest this is going to go on for a very long time,” an expert said of the crisis.

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