Qatar Airways has told Jordan's Civil Aviation Authority that it may take legal action against the CAA for grounding one of its planes in Amman for two weeks last month, Jordanian Transport Minister Nader Dahabi said Sunday.
He told the Jordan Times that he had received a memo from a Doha-based lawyer saying that his client, Qatar Airways, was contemplating a lawsuit for $2.2 million in damages against the CAA for “breach” of the Chicago Aviation Convention.
Last month, Jordanian authorities denied entry to then-exiled Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Ghoshe when he flew to Amman aboard a Qatar Airways flight.
The authorities kept the aircraft from taking off when its pilot refused to allow Ghosheh to reboard for a flight back to Doha.
The plane remained on the tarmac of Queen Alia International Airport for two weeks.
Dahabi said that the CAA went “by the book” and that the measures taken were “flawless.”
“The differences lie in the interpretation of Article 9 of the Chicago convention. We explained our position to the Qataris. The action of the CAA conformed with national and international aviation regulations,” Dahabi told the paper.
The minister did not rule out the possibility of international arbitration to settle the dispute.
According to Article 9, a carrier is compelled to reboard any “inadmissible passenger” if the country of destination has barred his or her entry.
The definition of “inadmissible passenger" is a person who "is or will be refused admission to a state by its authorities regardless of his or her nationality or point of embarkation.”
When asked to reboard the “inadmissible passenger” on the June 14 return flight, the pilot of the Airbus-320, Hamad Bedeiwi, insisted that he had “strict instructions from the Qatari authorities” not to heed this order.
Bedeiwi and five male crew members remained in Amman along with the plane, while the female flight attendants returned to Doha a few days after Ghoshe's arrival.
“They had to be present as caretakers of the plane, for which we never issued a no-fly order, but rather insisted that it could not fly without Ghoshe on board,” the transport minister explained.
“We refused to take responsibility for the plane while it was parked on the tarmac.”
The government stand-off with Ghoshe was resolved after he agreed to freeze all “political, information-related or organizational” affiliation to Hamas.
Subsequently, the Qatari Airways plane flew back to Doha, and flights resumed between the two countries – Albawaba.com
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