Bahrain closes Qatari air corridors



Bahrain has restricted access to its airspace for aircraft registered in Qatar, leaving just one routing for departures from Doha, and one for arrivals.

The move follows a diplomatic fallout over alleged Qatari links to funding of Islamic terrorist groups.

Qatar says that the bans are “unjustified and based on baseless allegations”.

Under a series of NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) issued this morning, the Kingdom of Bahrain also banned all flights between the two countries, as well as Qatar registered aircraft from using its airspace.

According to the NOTAMs, all aircraft arriving into Doha are restricted to using flight path UR659, with departures restricted to UT430. Both routes take aircraft directly from Doha into Iranian airspace.

Bahrain controls all of the airspace surrounding Qatar.

Saudi Arabia issued NOTAMs forbidding Qatar registered aircraft from overflying its airspace, or lading at its airports. Under a separate NOTAM it requires all non Saudi and Qatar registered aircraft that want to operate between the two countries to request separate permissions from the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

The UAE also issued a short series of NOTAMs banning Qatari registered aircraft from using its airports or transiting its airspace.

Kuwait and Oman are the only members of the Gulf Cooperation Council that have not placed restrictions on Qatari aircraft overflying their airspace.

Both Bahrain and the UAE signed up to the International Air Transit Agreement, so are unable to legally limit access to their airspace by Qatari aircraft. Saudi Arabia has signed up to the agreement.

Flight tracking website showed flights on Tuesday morning between Doha and African cities weaving through the Gulf to avoid Bahrain and UAE controlled airspace.

The bans affect business aircraft flights as well as regular passenger and freighter aircraft flights.

There are currently 14 corporate jets registered in Qatar. Some 12 aircraft of these are are managed or operated by Qatar Executive which is part of Qatar Airways.

The Doha based operator placed an order with Gulfstream in May 2015 for the delivery of up to 30 Gulfstream jets.

Three Gulfstream G650ERs have been delivered so far. Last year Qatar Executive converted three G650ER options into firm orders.

As well as the G650ER the mixture of options and firm orders includes both Gulfstream’s G500 and G600.

Qatar says that the Gulfstream aircraft will be used to replace their Bombardier Global family aircraft.

The remaining Bombardier Challenger aircraft will be converted from passenger usage into air ambulance medevac aircraft.