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Gulf crisis: Several airlines suspend flights to and from Qatar

Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, severed ties to Qatar and moved to cut off land, sea and air routes to the energy-rich nation that is home to a major US military base.

world Updated: Jun 05, 2017 21:05 IST
Agencies, Dubai
Emirates,Qatar,Gulf crisis
A sign indicating a route to Qatar embassy is seen in Manama, Bahrain, June 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Several airlines, including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Saudia, and Air Arabia, said on Monday they have suspended all flights to Qatar, as Arab countries cut diplomatic ties to Doha over its support of Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.

State-run Qatar Airways also said that it has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia with immediate effect.

“Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” until 1159 GMT the same day, a statement from the Doha-based carrier said. A spokesperson added it was unclear if the suspension would be extended.

Saudia, the national carrier airline of Saudi Arabia that is also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, suspended all flights to Qatar. It announced its decision on its official Twitter account on Monday, without providing further details.

Dubai-based carrier Emirates said it will suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice amid the diplomatic spat. Emirates said the last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart at 2:30am on Tuesday, while the last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart at 3:50am.

“All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations,” the airline said in an email.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad said on its website that its last flights “until further notice” would leave early Tuesday morning. The flag carrier of the UAE gave no reason for the decision.

Dubai’s budget carrier FlyDubai also said it has cancelled its flights to Qatar and that all flights starting Tuesday would be suspended. It offered no other details.

The cancellations are likely to cause disruption for travellers as Qatar is a common stop-over for long-haul flights from many countries.

The tension has open the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 21:04 IST