India to operate additional flights to Qatar for Eid holiday season | india-news | Hindustan Times
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India to operate additional flights to Qatar for Eid holiday season

Indian airlines will operate additional flights to Qatar from this week to meet higher demand from Indians wishing to travel home for the Eid holiday season.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2017 22:11 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Saudi Arabia and its allies have closed their airspace to flights to and from Qatar, which they have accused of backing terrorism and causing instability in the region.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have closed their airspace to flights to and from Qatar, which they have accused of backing terrorism and causing instability in the region.(Mujeeb Faruqui/Representative Image)

Air India and Jet Airways will operate additional flights to Qatar to meet higher demand from Indians wishing to travel home for the holiday season after several Gulf countries snapped air links, officials said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have closed their airspace to flights to and from Qatar, which they have accused of backing terrorism and causing instability in the region.

The additional flights, sources in New Delhi and Doha said, should not be seen as a move to evacuate Indians working in Qatar.

“These flights are absolutely not for an evacuation. They are only to help address the increased demand during the Eid holiday season as a result of the cancellation of many flights via the United Arab Emirates,” a source told Hindustan Times.

The decision on starting the additional flights from June 22 was made after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to make arrangements for the travel of Indian expatriates, especially those from Kerala.

Qatar is home to more than 650,000 Indian nationals, many of them Kerala.

“We’ll operate addl. flights b/w Doha & Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Mumbai for our citizens not able to get tickets at Doha,” Raju said in a tweet.

“All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured,” he said in another tweet, adding he and Swaraj “are in touch on this issue”.

Air India Express will operate flights on the Trivandrum-Doha-Cochin-Trivandrum route from June 25 to July 8. Jet Airways will fly the Mumbai-Doha-Mumbai route from June 22.

Three Indian airlines – Jet Airways, IndiGo and Air India Express – currently fly from several destinations in India to Doha. Qatar Airways operates flights from Doha to Indian cities.

India has been closely monitoring the situation in Qatar after Saudi Arabia and its allies snapped diplomatic ties and closed air, sea and road links.