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Qatar Airways launches multibillion dollar investment arbitrations against the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt

DOHA, Qatar — Qatar Airways Group Q.C.S.C., owner and operator of Qatar Airways, the award-winning flag carrier of the State of Qatar, has launched four international investment arbitrations against the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Since 2017, the four aforementioned states have imposed an illegal air, sea and land blockade against Qatar. The arbitrations seek redress for the blockading states’ actions to remove Qatar Airways from their markets and to forbid the airline from flying over their airspace. Qatar Airways is seeking a total of at least US$5 billion from the blockading states as compensation for their unlawful actions.

For three decades, Qatar Airways made substantial investments in the four blockading countries in order to serve hundreds of thousands of passengers and to transport tens of thousands of tons of cargo to and from each of these countries annually.

Starting on 5 June 2017, without prior warning, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt took collective measures targeting Qatar Airways and its operations. These measures specifically targeted Qatar Airways, with the objective of shuttering Qatar Airways’ local operations, destroying the value of the airline’s investments and causing widespread damage to Qatar Airways’ global network of operations. In particular, these measures included, but were not limited to, closing their airspace and airports to Qatar Airways’ aircraft and revoking Qatar Airways’ licenses and permits to operate in the blockading states. These measures persist to date and continue to disrupt Qatar Airways’ global operations.

Qatar Airways is seeking full compensation for these damages in four investment arbitrations, brought under three separate treaties, namely: the OIC Investment Agreement; the Arab Investment Agreement; and the bilateral investment treaty between the State of Qatar and Egypt. The Notices of Arbitration make clear that by imposing the measures against Qatar Airways, the blockading states have violated their obligations under the agreements, including by expropriating and failing to adequately protect and secure Qatar Airways’ investments, discriminating against Qatar Airways, and failing to provide fair and equitable treatment to the airline and its investments.

Commenting on the launch of the investment arbitrations, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO 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 one of the world’s leading airlines, providing millions of customers around the world with the highest level of passenger and cargo services. Despite the efforts of the blockading states, we have maintained our global position and will continue to promote air travel as a right for all.”

About Qatar Airways

The Qatar Airways Group Q.C.S.C. is a wholly state-owned commercial entity that began its operations in 1994, with the provision of flight and cargo services within the Gulf region. It has since become one of the world’s largest carriers, and one of the youngest global airlines to serve six continents. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.

Notes to Editors:

About Qatar Airways: 

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.

Hamad International Airport (HIA), the airline’s home and hub, was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. Rising from fourth position in 2019 to third in 2020, HIA has been steadily rising in the ‘World's Best Airports’ rankings since the start of its operations in 2014. In addition, HIA was voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row.

Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry’s first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 160 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.

Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA 2022 World Cup, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message - Going Places Together.

Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world’s leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, 21 Boeing 777 freighters and five Airbus A330 freighters.

Qatar Executive is the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group. Luxury jet services are available for worldwide charter on board the operator’s wholly-owned business jet fleet. Qatar Executive is the launch customer for Gulfstream’s G700, the world’s first commercial service operator of the Gulfstream G500 and largest commercial operator of the G650ER worldwide. Qatar Executive's service portfolio also includes aircraft management, maintenance and Fixed Based Operator services.

For further information, please contact:

Qatar Airways Group, Corporate Communications Department

Tel: +974 4022 2200

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