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ICAO must demand 'unconditional opening of airspace'

ICAO must demand 'unconditional opening of airspace'

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday denied opening its sovereign airspace to transit registered aircraft in Qatar, the Emirati official WAM news agency reported.

"Reports claiming that Qatar Airways planes are using the airspace of some of the countries boycotting Doha are totally untrue", Al Riyadh newspaper reported citing the Saudi authority.

The country's Civil Aviation Affairs is enforcing all measures taken in coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Bureau in Cairo to ensure safety of air traffic, including the allocation of additional contingency routes over High Seas through Bahrain for aviation data, said the Ministry.

In a statement, the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) clarified that it only allowed Qatar flights to use the airspace above global waters and managed by the UAE and not the UAE airspace.

ICAO recently said Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates had agreed to open some of its airspace to Qatari aircraft.

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Qatar rejected the demands, in a response that the four countries considered very negative, and chose to continue the boycott of the former, and to consider new sanctions against it.

"The airspace from the west of Saudi Arabia is sovereign and Qatar is banned from using it", GACA statement said.

"It is the duty of ICAO, who allocates FIRs to countries, to administer global airspace", al-Baker said in reply to a question by Gulf Times at a media event in Doha on Wednesday.

The economic action has put Qatar Airways in a hard position having to take longer, more expensive routes to destinations.