A recent ban on all flights to and from Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies could cause headaches for those travelling through the Middle East.
The ban, which was announced on the 5th of June, has resulted from growing accusations by Saudi Arabia that Qatar has been supporting extremism in the Middle East. As a result, a number of the Gulf States and Egypt have cut all diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar, and ordered Qatari citizens to leave their territories within 14 days of the announcement. As it stands, United Arab Emirates carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai, Air Arabia and Saudi Airlines have also suspended all flights to and from Doha as of the 5th of June.
The four countries involved in the ban, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also restricted Qatar Airways flights from entering their airspace. Libya, Yemen, and the Maldives, who have also severed political ties with Qatar, are yet to action any travel restrictions to and from Doha.
Qatar Airways responded to the announcement by immediately suspending flights to Saudi Arabia. The airline has also cancelled services to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt and announced that passengers on the cancelled flights would be rebooked or refunded.
While the ban is not expected to directly disrupt flights between Doha and Australia, it has been speculated that Qatar Airways operated services may be delayed, as the carrier will be forced to fly around the restricted airspace. This has the potential to result in higher fuel costs and longer flight times for Qatar Airways passengers.
At present, all flights between Doha and destinations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been cancelled until further notice.
Travellers who have bookings on Qatar Airways flights to other Middle Eastern destinations, have a multi-country trip booked in the region, or have a transfer planned in Qatar may also encounter disruptions. Please get in touch with one of our Travel Experts today to find out how to best navigate travel and transfers through the Middle East.