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Qatar Airways urges UN action against Gulf boycott

Qatar Airways calls on International Civil Aviation Organisation to declare Arab acts against the carrier as illegal.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has called on International Civil Aviation Organisation, a United Nations body, to declare Arab measures against Qatari air traffic as illegal.

The call was made by Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, in comments to CNN published on Monday.

Al Baker was referring to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which closed their airspace to Qatari flights.

"We have legal channels to object to this," Al Baker said. “International Civil Aviation Organization... should heavily get involved, put their weight behind this to declare this an illegal act."

READ MORE: Qatar-Gulf crisis: All the latest updates

Any country party to the convention should grant freedoms including "the privilege to fly across its territory without landing," according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, an agency of the United Nations which administers the Chicago convention.

The UAE and Bahrain have signed the convention. Saudi Arabia is not a signatory.

Qatar Airways has been hit hard by the dispute, with 18 destinations now out of bounds for the airline.

In addition to closing their airspace to Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also shut down the airline's offices.

"It is actually a travesty of civilized behaviour to close airline offices. Airlines offices are not political arms," said Al Baker.

"We were sealed as if it was a criminal organization. We were not allowed to give refunds to our passengers."

In a separate interview with the Wall Street Journal, Al Baker said he would not delay any plane orders or put expansion plans in other countries, such as India, on hold.

On Sunday Qatar Airways reported a 21.7 percent rise in net profit in its last financial year that ended in March, fueled by a strategy of investment and expansion.

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