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Qatar’s Expanding Airspace Backed by ICAO

Qatar is now closer to establishing its Doha Flight Information Region (FIR) and Doha Search and Rescue (SRR) after the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council formally agreed in principle to a proposal.

According to Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications, the proposal was acknowledged during the council’s 223rd session.

If approved, the FIR/SRR would allow the Gulf state to expand its current airspace into the United Arab Emirates, Iran, and Bahrain, all whilst achieving safe and sustainable air transport operations in the region.

Qatar’s Minister of Transport, Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti commented, “The proposal by the State of Qatar to establish a Doha FIR/SRR is of a great importance for the future of civil aviation, not only in the Middle East region, but the entire world and is fully consistent with the objectives of the Chicago Convention”.

The proposal also featured Qatar’s intention to withdraw from a joint agreement it signed in 2000 with Bahrain under which is entrusted Manama to provide air navigation services over its territory as per paragraphs 2.1.1 of Annex 11 to the Chicago Convention.

The Ministry of Transport also stated that the ICAO invited both Qatar and Bahrain as well as neighbouring states to agree on the technical implementation of the Doha FIR/SSR and report the outcome at the 224th session in November.

In a meeting on June 9, Qatar’s Minister of Transport and his Bahraini counterpart discussed the technical aspects of the proposal. Another meeting then took place on June 14 with the technical committees of both countries.

During the session, it was emphasised that the changes would depend on a variety of factors, such as good relations, collaboration and mutual respect between the states whilst ensuring safe and seamless services.

Qatar’s capabilities and qualifications to manage air traffic effectively and safely was also acknowledged by the ICAO.

Al-Sulaiti stated, “The proposal represents one of the sovereign rights of the State of Qatar and demonstrates the huge investments made by Qatar to develop its air navigation system for the benefit of the region as a whole, by providing safe, efficient, and seamless air navigation services”.

The transportation minister also said that Qatar is looking forward to mutual cooperation to implement all decisions in a timely manner.

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