Qatar Airways circumvents airspace restrictions via Iran

Iran Materials 6 June 2017 17:33 (UTC +04:00)
Qatar Airways has begun using Iranian airspace following the surprise fallout between Doha and a number of Middle Eastern countries
Qatar Airways circumvents airspace restrictions via Iran

Qatar Airways has begun using Iranian airspace following the surprise fallout between Doha and a number of Middle Eastern countries, Financial Tribune reported.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE broke all ties with Qatar on June 4, with Riyadh going as far as closing border crossings between the two nations.

The fallout has also resulted in those countries banning Qatari-registered aircraft from making overflights—when an airline uses the airspace of a foreign country. Consequently, Qatar's flag carrier began using Iranian airspace from June 5 for flights going to Europe.

A Qatar Airways representative in Tehran told Financial Tribune that they have been instructed not to speak to the media about the issue.

Iranian media reported that as many as 200 Qatar Airways flights per day from Doha will use Iranian airspace. However, that is impossible since the airline's fleet has less than 180 aircraft.

The Qatar Airways representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they do not yet have exact figures.

Nevertheless, an Iran Air source told Financial Tribune that no more than 80 Qatari flights daily will use Iranian airspace.

Commenting on snapshots of Flight Radar—a website that shows global air traffic—circulating online and depicting a trail of airplanes flying over Iran from Qatar to Europe, the source said "only flights going to South America, Australia, and Africa will use Iran's airspace", adding that the airline has been using Iranian airspace for its European flights for years.

The Civil Aviation Organization of Iran has a strict policy on divulging information regarding overflight fees, as representatives of two foreign airlines based in Tehran both said they are not allowed to make the rates public "because it could hurt Iran's revenue if regional countries found out".

According to CAOI, some 955 foreign flights use Iranian airspace every day.

Bloomberg reported that as many as 72 flights a day will be canceled, 52 of which are operated by flag carrier Qatar Airways. Fourteen of those are flights to Dubai, which means they are indefinitely grounded.

Diogenis Papiomytis, director of aerospace at Frost & Sullivan, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that he expects Qatar Airways' revenues to take a 30% hit.

Saudi Arabia and its regional allies accuse Qatar of backing the Houthis in Yemen, despite Doha's involvement in the Saudi-led coalition to snatch the capital Sana'a and reinstate the Riyadh-backed government of fugitive president, Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Qatar was removed from the coalition on Monday.

Iran has called for dialogue between the two countries, while Turkey has offered to mediate in settling the regional row.