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Qatar Airways is seeking at least $5bn in compensation from the four countries which imposed a blockade on its flights.

The carrier has launched four international investment arbitrations against the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt over their 2017 decision to block the airline from their airspace.

The arbitrations will seek compensation for the costs Qatar Airways has incurred as a result, which, in its 2018 results, it estimated at some $1.5bn.

Qatar Airways said: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.”

But the blockade, implemented without warning, “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’ licences and permits to operate in the blockading states. These measures persist to date and continue to disrupt Qatar Airways’ global operations.”

The arbitrations will be brought under three treaties made between Qatar and the four countries, and claim the states violated their obligations under the agreements.

“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,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.

“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.”

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