Syrian sanction outburst brings sympathy but little else

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Syrian Arab Airlines has expressed frustration over the impact of governmental sanctions, during the Arab Air Carriers Organization annual meeting in Algiers.

But the organisation, while giving a degree of sympathy, insists the matter is beyond its remit.

Syrian Arab Airlines highlighted the issue as AACO formally opened the meeting on 6 November.

"Sanctions have affected Syrian Arab Airlines," said a senior delegate from the carrier, in strong tones, as he demanded to know AACO's role in "lifting this injustice".

"It is difficult to carry out maintenance, very difficult for this company specifically to provide high-quality services."

Sanctions on Syrian Arab Airlines have tightened in recent weeks with a broad ban on the carrier's operations to European Union airports.

AACO secretary general Abdul Wahab Teffaha, in response, said that the organisation's role is focused on civil aviation whereas the sanctions issue was a separate political matter.

"All countries in the world are required to put aside civil aviation from political decisions," he said, adding that AACO's attitude should be in line with that of similar airline associations, such as IATA.

But while AACO could provide "moral support" to the carrier, he said, the organisation "cannot embark" on decisions which would normally be handled at political levels.