An unprecedented regional crisis in the Persian Gulf
Several Persian Gulf airlines will suspend all flights to Doha amid diplomatic dispute involving the UAE, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbour, Qatar. The suspension will come into effect from June 6.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE have just announced the closure of all air, land and sea links with Doha within 24 hours. Saudi Arabia said it also would shut its land border with Qatar, effectively cutting off the country from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. The decision comes as the three Gulf states and Egypt cut diplomatic ties to Qatar, citing the country’s alleged support of Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.
The unprecedented measures against Doha include ordering Qatari visitors and residents to leave within 14 days and banning citizens of the three Gulf states from travelling to Qatar.
This may severely affect Qatar Airways. Doha airport, along with airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have become major hubs after Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have linked Western countries with Asia and Australia.
Several airlines said today they would suspend all flights between Qatar and other Gulf states. Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline, which operates four return flights to Doha daily, said the measure will be in place “until further notice”. All customers who are booked on Etihad Airways flights to and from Doha are being provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Etihad Airways destinations.