Qatar Airways has launched international arbitration seeking at least $5bn from four Arab countries as compensation for blocking it from their airspace and removing it from their markets.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have essentially banned the airline since June 2017 when they cut all ties with Qatar and imposed an air, land and sea blockade on it over accusations of supporting “terrorism”. Doha denies the charges outright and says the quartet aims to infringe on its sovereignty.
Qatar Airways said in a statement on Wednesday the measures specifically targeted the carrier with the aim of closing its operations in the four countries, destroying the value of its investments and causing widespread damage to its global operations.
“The decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to,” Akbar al-Baker, Qatar Airways CEO, said.