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UAE to lodge complaint over Qatar flight ‘interception’


(G.N.S) Dt. 16


The UAE will lodge a complaint with the International Civil Aviation Organisation after Qatari jets came within little more than three kms of Emirati passenger flights, its civil aviation chief said today.

“Today we will file our complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organisation about the two serious incidents, along with the evidence that we’ve gathered, and ask for the intervention of the council to stop Qatar from repeating the act,” Saif al-Suwaidi, head of the general civil aviation authority, told AFP.

The United Arab Emirates said yesterday that Qatari fighter jets had “intercepted” two passenger flights headed for Bahrain, drawing a swift denial from Gulf rival Qatar.

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.

“We are now studying changing the route to another one which is very far from Qatar,” Suwaidi said.

“However that will take some time as we have to reach an agreement with Bahrain”.

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.

But Bahrain’s civil aviation authority identified the aircraft as Emirates flight EK837 and Etihad flight EY23B. Bahrain too plans to file a complaint to the ICAO, a Montreal-based specialised agency of the United Nations.

The allegations came after Qatar accused UAE fighter jets of violating its airspace in December and January, most recently on Sunday.

The Qatari foreign ministry charged that they were a baseless attempt to overshadow its own complaints against the UAE.

Bahrain and the UAE have no diplomatic ties with Qatar, which lies between the two Gulf allies and is banned from using their airspace.

In June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke diplomatic relations and most trade links with Qatar, accusing it of ties to Islamist extremists and Saudi arch-rival Iran.

Qatar denies the allegations and and accuses the four states of aiming to incite the overthrow of its government.

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