Air­lines sus­pend Doha flights and close airspace…

Travel Daily ME - - News -

Sev­eral Mid­dle Eastern air­lines have sus­pended their flights to Doha fol­low­ing a diplo­matic spat with the Qatari govern­ment.

Air­lines based in Bahrain, Saudi Ara­bia and the UAE - in­clud­ing Emi­rates and Eti­had - have stopped fly­ing to their Gulf neigh­bour, and their coun­tries' airspace has been closed to Qatar Air­ways. Egypt and Ye­men have also joined the em­bargo.

In ad­di­tion, the border be­tween Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia has been closed and all ship­ping links to the af­fected coun­tries sus­pended, ef­fec­tively iso­lat­ing the penin­sula state.

Qatar Air­ways is­sued a state­ment con­firm­ing that it has "sus­pended all flights to the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia, UAE, King­dom of Bahrain and Egypt un­til fur­ther notice".

"All cus­tomers booked on af­fected flights will be pro­vided with al­ter­na­tive op­tions, in­clud­ing the op­tion of a full re­fund," it added.

Pas­sen­gers booked on Qatar Air­ways flights can ex­pect longer jour­ney times than usual, as pilots have to nav­i­gate their way around the closed airspace. Im­ages from the FlightRadar24 web­site on Tues­day showed large num­bers of in­bound and out­bound Qatari air­craft on a lim­ited path, fly­ing over the east coast of the Ara­bian Gulf and west­ern Iran.

Pas­sen­gers are also be­ing warned of pos­si­ble dis­rup­tion and de­lays at Doha’s Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

This un­prece­dented ac­tion stems from a diplo­matic row be­tween Qatar and its neigh­bours, who have ac­cused it of desta­bil­is­ing the re­gion by sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist groups. Qatar's For­eign Min­is­ter, Mo­hammed Bin Ab­dul­rah­man Al Thani, told Al Jazeera that his govern­ment wants to "solve any dis­pute through di­a­logue".

Qatar is due to host the World Cup in 2022, and foot­ball's world gov­ern­ing body FIFA said it re­mains in "reg­u­lar con­tact with Qatar".

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