UAE Won't Alter Civilian Flight Paths Despite Claim of Qatari Warplane Interference

Abu Dhabi accused Qatar of 'provocative action' after jets allegedly flew dangerously close to civilian planes

An Emirates Airbus A380 plane prepares to land at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 26, 2017.
Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates will not change its civilian flight paths, the head of its aviation authority said on Tuesday, a day after the UAE accused Qatari warplanes of flying dangerously close to two of its civilian aircraft. 

The skies over the Gulf, where the alleged incidents took place, are heavily used every day by airlines. 

Asked if any changes would be made to civilian routes, the chairman of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority, Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, told Reuters: "We have no plans at the present time." 

The UAE called the incident – which Qatar denied – a "provocative action", and said it had already reported two similar events to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations' aviation agency. 

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai, Mansouri, who is also the minister of economy, said the UAE would now complain to the ICAO again. 

The latest incidents involved a large aircraft owned by a UAE organisation and a helicopter, GCAA Assistant Director General Ismaeil Mohammed al-Blooshi told a news briefing in Abu Dhabi. He declined to identify the owners of the aircraft. 

Bahrain's civil aviation authority said on Monday a private Emirati Airbus A320 en route from the emirate of Fujairah to Rome was forced to a higher altitude after Qatari war planes flew dangerously close. 

Blooshi said on Tuesday the war planes came as close as 800 meters horizontally and 213 meters vertically to the UAE aircraft. 

It was not clear if the two incidents occurred at the same time or not.