Qatar asked ICAO to resolve airspace rights dispute with three Gulf states

FILE PHOTO: Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker gestures as he tours the exhibition stand of the company at the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Vastavam web: Qatar has sent a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) governing council  in a airspace dispute with three Gulf states following an escalating diplomatic row and trade blockade.The Gulf state has indicated that it will ask the council to resolve the conflict, one of the sources said, using a dispute resolution mechanism under the 1944 Chicago Convention which is overseen by ICAO. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because council business is discussed in private.
The biggest diplomatic rift in years among the rich states of the Gulf has disrupted Qatar’s imports of food and other materials, although its finance minister has played down the economic toll of the confrontation.It is not yet clear whether the ICAO council, which is holding regularly scheduled meetings in Montreal this week, would agree to intervene, and how long any efforts would take. The matter is expected to be discussed at council by Friday, said one of the sources.
The UN aviation agency, which is headquartered in Montreal, does not impose binding rules, but wields clout through safety and security standards that are usually followed by its 191-member countries.Earlier in the day, the chief executive of Qatar Airways told CNN that ICAO should declare the measures against Qatari air traffic to be illegal.Baker said 18 destinations were now out of bounds for the airline.He also criticized Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both members of ICAO’s governing council, for shutting down the airline’s offices.The U.S. should be the leader trying to break this blockade and not sitting and watching what’s going on and putting fuel on the fire he said.