Dubai: The UAE is looking at legal recourse after Qatari fighter jets intercepted two UAE commercial airliners in international airspace on the way to Bahrain, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said on Monday.
Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of GCAA, said the first aircraft was intercepted at 10.30am, while the second was intercepted at 11.05am. “The aircraft were intercepted unexpectedly, and without alerting flight crews. Endangering the lives of civilians is unjustifiable and a breach of ratified international treaties,” he added.
WAM reported that the GCAA received a message from one of the UAE’s national carriers on Monday morning, saying one of its aircraft on a flight to Manama route had been intercepted by Qatari fighters. The flight was a regular, scheduled service on a known flight-path that met all the required and internationally recognised approvals and permits.
Bahrain’s foreign ministry on Monday “strongly” condemned the interception by Qatari fighter jets of the UAE aircraft.
The interception is a blatant violation of international conventions and laws issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) drafted in 1944, the ministry said in a statement it posted on its website.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms this hostile behaviour by Qatar against civilian aircraft has become frequent in recent times, jeopardises the safety of civil aviation and poses a threat to the lives of civilians,” the statement said.
The ministry stressed Bahrain’s support for the UAE and for all measures it takes to protect its security and stability and to deter and put an end to these violations by Qatar, the statement added.
The illegal Qatari action could escalate tensions between Doha and the Arab Quartet, which includes the UAE, that has been boycotting it for months for its links to extremists organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, its close ties to Iran, and its attempts to destabilise the region.