Published on : Thursday, July 23, 2020
Qatar Airways Group Q.C.S.C., the owner and operator of Qatar’s award-winning flag carrier Qatar Airways, recently launched four international investment arbitrations against the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Republic of Egypt. The arbitrations arrived following an illegal air, sea and land blockade imposed by the four states against Qatar back in 2017.
According to Qatar Airways, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt took collective measures targeting the airline and its operations starting June 5, 2017. The company has mentioned that the methods were specifically targeted with the aim of shuttering the local operations of the carrier ultimately destroying the value of the airline’s investments and causing widespread destruction to Qatar Airways’ global network of operations.
The airline mentioned that the measures included, but were not limited to, closing the airspace and airports of the aforementioned states to Qatar Airways aircraft and revoking the company’s licenses and permits to operate in the blockading states. The carrier also shared that the measures continue to be active to date causing constant disruption to its global operations.
Qatar Airways informed that it has made substantial investments in the four blockading countries for nearly three decades in order to serve hundreds of thousands of passengers and to transport tens of thousands of tons of cargo to and from each of these countries annually. Therefore, the arbitrations seek compensation for the action of the blockading states to remove Qatar Airways from their markets and to forbid the airline from flying over their airspace.
As a part of the arbitrations, Qatar Airways is seeking a total of at least US$5 billion from the blockading states as compensation for their unlawful actions. It has also asked full compensation for the damages in four investment arbitrations, brought under three separate treaties, the OIC Investment Agreement; the Arab Investment Agreement; and the bilateral investment treaty between the State of Qatar and Egypt.
The arbitration notices have highlighted that the blockading states have violated their obligations under the agreements by imposing the measures against Qatar Airways. It also states that they expropriated and failed to protect and secure Qatar Airways’ investments adequately, discriminating against the airline and failing to provide fair and equitable treatment to the carrier and its investments.
His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways said in a statement regarding the launch of the investment arbitrations that the decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to. He shared that the decision to issue Notices of Arbitration and pursue all legal remedies to protect the rights of the airline and secure full compensation for the violations came after nearly three years of efforts to resolve the crisis amicably through dialogue without any results.
He stated that the blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, including a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements and international law. He mentioned that Qatar Airways is one of the leading airlines of the world and provide millions of customers across the globe with the highest level of passenger and cargo services. He concluded that despite the efforts of the blockading states, that airline has maintained its global position and will continue to promote air travel as a right for all.