DOHA (MEMO) – Qatar says it has been given a preliminary green light by a UN body on a proposal to control its own airspace, months after resolving a years-long rift with its Persian Gulf neighbors.
The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has given Qatar permission “in principle” to establish its own Flight Information Region (FIR) in its airspace, Doha’s transport and communications ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
The decision came in response to a request from Doha to withdraw from an agreement signed with Bahrain, a neighboring state, under which it had delegated its air navigation services.
The ICAO “agreed, in principle… with the establishment of a Doha Flight Information Region (FIR) and Doha Search and Rescue Region (SRR)” at talks last month, the Qatari ministry said.
It would “include Qatar’s sovereign airspace and, to optimize safety and efficiency of the regional airspace, other contiguous airspace over the high seas”, it added.
The move comes a few months after a landmark reconciliation between Qatar and other Persian Gulf countries including Bahrain.
The regional bloc, led by Saudi Arabia, broke ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of supporting “terrorism” - charges that it denied.