TEHRAN: An Iranian civil aviation official said Qatari aircraft bound for Europe or Africa can fly over Iran’s territory as of Tuesday, after four regional Arab states decided to suspend diplomatic ties with the Doha government and suspend air transport with Qatar.
An official at Iran’s Airports Company said on Tuesday morning that Qatari airlines, including its flag carrier Qatar Airways, can use Iran’s airspace, after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain closed their airspaces to Qatari planes.
The highest number of Qatari flights are bound to North Africa and Southern Europe via an air route over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the official was quoted as saying by the Mehr News Agency, adding that from now on, the Qatari flights will have to cross over Iran, Iraq and Jordan for travelling to North Africa.
The official also said that Qatar’s passenger planes will have to fly over Iran and Turkey to reach Europe as part of a revised flight route that previously passed through Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, and Turkey for destinations in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic region.
The biggest problem Qatari airlines are going to face as soon as Egypt closes its airspace would emerge in flights bound for the Horn of Africa, the official added, noting that their only choice will be entering the airspaces of Oman, southern parts of Iran, and Iraq as an alternative, the official said, noting that such a new route will increase the distance flown to the Horn of Africa.
The official finally noted that the transfer of Qatari flights into Iran’s airspace would mark a 20 percent rise in the country’s air traffic, which would also bring in more revenue.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Bahrain, the Maldives and a number of others cut off diplomatic ties with the Doha government, saying they will suspend air, sea and land transport with Qatar. They have accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.
Qatar has rejected the accusations, calling them “unjustified” and “baseless.”
Qatari citizens have been told they have 14 days to leave Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, and those countries also banned their own citizens from entering Qatar. – Samaa