DOHA: Qatar Airways has announced that it would seek at least 5 billion dollars in compensation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt over the air blockade they imposed on the state-owned flag carrier.
The four countries have blocked Qatar Airways from their airspace since 2017 when the quartet severed diplomatic and trade ties with Doha over accusations it meddled in regional affairs and supported “terrorism.”
Qatar has rejected the allegations and said it was targeted because it followed an independent foreign policy.
“The arbitrations seek redress for the blockading states’ actions to remove Qatar Airways from their markets and to forbid the airline from flying over their airspace,” the carrier said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“These measures specifically targeted Qatar Airways, with the objective of shuttering Qatar Airways’ local operations, destroying the value of the airline’s investments and causing widespread damage to Qatar Airways’ global network of operations.”
Last week, the International Court of Justice ruled that Qatar could challenge the blockade before the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), rejecting appeals made by the four countries.
Qatar Airways said it is seeking the redress through four arbitration actions under three separate treaties, each of which allows such an action in the case of a conflict.
“After more than three years of efforts to resolve the crisis amicably through dialogue yielded no results, we have taken the decision to issue Notices of Arbitration and pursue all legal remedies to protect our rights and secure full compensation for the violations,” said the airline’s chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, according to the statement.
“By imposing the measures against Qatar Airways, the blockading states have violated their obligations under the agreements, including by expropriating and failing to adequately protect and secure Qatar Airways investments.”
The carrier has reported significant losses since the start of the air blockade.