The UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has called on Qatar to stop endangering civilian aircraft flying on declared flight paths.
The statement from the GCAA follows an incident in which two Qatari fighter aircraft approached a UAE civilian passenger aircraft on a previously planned and declared flight path.
According to Ismail Al Blooshi, GCAA assistant director General for Aviation Safety Affairs, came within 700 feet of one another at high speed - with the Emirati plane taking an emergency climb in altitude.
“This is way below the safe separation that is maintained at this kind of operation,” Al Blooshi added. “This act, which is clearly a deliberate act, has endangered the lives of civilians on board and is a clear violation of international civil aviation treaties, and actually puts international civil aviation traffic at risk.”
Al Blooshi noted that investigations into the incident have shown that the Qatari jets were not communicating with air traffic controllers, and that the actions of the fighter jets “activated or demanded intervention” from the aircraft’s traffic collision avoidance system, which is considered the last ‘safety net’ that prevents an aircraft from colliding.
“In this case, the system was activated as it maneuvered the aircraft away from the Qatari jets at 32,000 feet,” he said, adding that the Qatari jets ‘chased’ the aircraft to an altitude of 35,000 feet.
Al Blooshi and the GCAA have called for an “immediate cessation of acts which endanger or compromise the safety of civil aviation.”
Additionally, the AFP quoted Al Blooshi as saying that the UAE would file a complaint to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) over the incident.
"We were one of the first countries to ban (our planes) flying over areas of conflict when there is a risk to civil aviation," he told AFP. "These are declared international routes and this is unacceptable."For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.