Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, which have tried to isolate Qatar, will allow Qatari planes to use air corridors in emergencies, the Saudi state news agency SPA said on Sunday. The four countries severed ties with Qatar on June 5, closed borders – in the sea, land and sky – and imposed economic sanctions, accusing it of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.
“Nine corridors have been identified including one in international air space over the Mediterranean sea that will be monitored by the Egyptian authorities,” SPA reported, citing a statement from the Saudi aviation authority (GACA). International aviation organisations have been informed, it said, adding that the corridors will be open from August 1. The UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), held special hearings at Qatar’s request to discuss reopening Gulf airspace. The air corridors were identified under ICAO supervision, the Saudi statement said.
ICAO’s 36-state governing council could act to settle the overflights row presented by Qatar, but such interventions are rare and time-consuming because the U.N. agency usually negotiates disputes through consensus.