UAE and Bahrain 'manipulating' Qatar's airspace activities

UAE and Bahrain 'manipulating' Qatar's airspace activities
2 min read
23 April, 2018
Doha has said the UAE is a 'threat' to airspace security after Abu Dhabi accused Qatari fighter jets of flying 'dangerously close' to an Emirati airliner in Bahraini airspace.
The UAE and Bahrain are besieging Qatar [Getty]

Qatar has accused Abu Dhabi of being a "threat" to airspace security after the UAE and Bahrain both claimed again that Doha's military jets are encroaching on its airspace.

The UAE and Bahrain on Monday accused Qatari military fighter jets of flying coming dangerously close to an Emirati commercial airliner in Bahraini airspace.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said the alleged incident happened Sunday morning with a flight carrying 86 passengers. It said the fighters flew "less than 700 feet (210 meters)" from the Emirati plane.

Bahrain's state-run news agency early Monday identified the flight, carrying 86 passangers, as going from Dammam, Saudi Arabia, to Abu Dhabi.

Only Abu Dhabi-based Etihad flies that route.

Qatar responded shortly after by denying the claims, saying Abu Dhabi is "threatening air safety and security".

"The United Arab Emirates has unfortunately been manipulating the facts to inflame and mislead the international community," Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) said in a statement according to Qatar’s state news agency.

The statement blasted Bahrain for its bias "at a time when neutrality is supposed to be honoured since it is responsible for managing the navigation in this region".

Bahrain's politicisation of the incident "is a cause for concern and condemnation, especially as it is related to the application of international standards aimed at the security and safety of civilians".

This marks just the latest allegations between Qatar and the UAE over their flights being harassed since a diplomatic crisis between them erupted last year.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all severed ties with Qatar in June, accusing Doha of supporting extremism and being too close to rival Iran. Qatar has denied the claims. 

Riyadh and its allies in June issued Qatar with a list of demands, which included shutting down Al Jazeera as well as the London-based The New Arab. It also demanded Doha curb relations with Iran and close a Turkish military base in the emirate.

After severing ties with Doha, Riyadh and its allies closed land and maritime borders, suspended air links and expelled Qatari citizens.