On February 13, 2019, after 2 years of the Saudi led air blockade of Qatar, the EU has finally spoken out. “The air blockade of Qatar was unthinkable to us,” said the director of Transport for the EU Commission. “We cannot tolerate countries using civil aviation for political moves like this.” These comments were the first time the EU has publicly taken a stance on the blockade. The countries in the EU are some of the Gulf’s largest foreign markets, and they champion free skies.
The EU is now trying to work out a deal that will boost market access for Qatar to a significantly higher level than any other gulf country. They are creating a “Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement [CATA] between the EU and State of Qatar.” The CATA will be the first agreement of its kind between the EU and a GCC state. It will allow Qatar airways to fly to cities located within 28 European countries without any of the prior restrictions that were imposed before. Negotiations are reaching the finalization stage with the agreement set to be signed later this year.
( Image Source: Politico )