International Aviation Safety’s Primary Policy Body will Remain in Montréal

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ARTICLE: Qatar Withdraws Offer to Host ICAO Permanent Seat


It is rare that the phrase “international intrigue” and the title of International Civil Aviation Organization are found in the same paragraph. ICAO is well known for its methodical, transparent processes, but rarely, if ever, are accusations of pettiness or impropriety heard in that body’s wood-paneled chambers. The story of Qatar’s proposed “hostile takeover” of this UN body, which has been headquartered in Montréal for 47 years, has sent aviation writers to find new vocabulary words to ascribe nefarious motives to the reasons why the oil rich country was attempting to move this deliberative body to Doha.

ICAO issued a simple press release indicating that the threat has abated and Qatar has withdrawn its offer. Other reporters were able to get the following explanation of the Qatar reversal:

“Qatar’s embassy in Ottawa said in a statement that considering the ‘keenness’ of Qatar to ‘preserve the close and historic friendship’ between the countries and the importance that Canada attaches to keeping ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal, Qatar decided to withdraw its offer.”

The end to a very curious mystery appears to have been settled based on international principles of comity and that will contribute to the “grease” which allows aviation diplomacy to work.

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