The Houthis’ conduct annoyed the pilot, who issued a distress call to his employer, protesting about the delegation’s refusal to stop.
The source said that the problem began in Sanaa at the weekend when the Houthis attempted to get on the UN aircraft while ingesting qat, but the pilot refused to let them board.
The pilot called the business that had leased the aircraft to the UN when the Houthis insisted on boarding, while concealing their qat bags.
The source added: “After the jet took off, the Houthis got out their qat bags and started chewing.
“The pilot ordered them to cease chewing qat. Upon refusing, he sent a second distress signal to his firm.”
Fares Al-Hemyari, a Yemeni journalist based in the Netherlands, said the pilot refused to fly the Houthis to Switzerland and forced them to take another aircraft. The UN’s Yemen office now faces a fine of $200,000 for the misconduct of the Houthi delegation.
The journalist added on Twitter: “The delayed aircraft arrived in Jordan, where the crew refused to continue the journey. The [Houthi] negotiating group boarded a Qatar Airlines flight from Jordan to Switzerland.”