Qatar Airways Group has presented four international investment arbitrations against the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The carrier said that the four states have imposed an “illegal air, sea and land blockade against Qatar,” since 2017.
The arbitrations litigate for the blockading states’ actions to remove Qatar Airways from their markets. Qatar Airways is seeking at least US$5 billion from the blockading states as compensation for their “unlawful actions”. Qatar argues that it has made substantial investments in the four countries over the past 30 years, serving hundreds of thousands of passengers.
The blockade of Qatar, which also includes Yemen, began in 2017
The Middle Eastern countries accused Doha of supporting militant groups including the so-called Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Qatar denies the allegations.
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said: “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. After more than three years of efforts to resolve the crisis amicably through dialogue yielded no results, we have taken the decision to issue notices of arbitration and pursue all legal remedies to protect our rights and secure full compensation for the violations.”
“The blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, which includes a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements, and international law.”
Qatar Airways is seeking compensation under three separate treaties. They are the OIC Investment Agreement; the Arab Investment Agreement; and the bilateral investment treaty between Qatar and Egypt.