The Qatar Crisis: How It Affects International Flights And Transits Via Doha

Seven countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar yesterday, 5 June.

Tensions are flaring up in Middle East as seven countries have cut off all diplomatic ties with Qatar - halting all land, air, and sea traffic with the richest country in the world.

Doha waterfront.

Image via Getty

Citing suspected ties with militant groups - Al-Qaeda and ISIS - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, and the Maldives cut diplomatic ties with Qatar yesterday, 5 June.

State-run Saudi Press Agency also released a statement along with the announcement accusing Qatar of "harbouring a multitude of terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to create instability in the region".

Qatar has denied the accusations, calling it a violation of Qatar's sovereignty as a state and "unjustified" with "no basis in fact".

Analysts have predicted that Qatar may face a multitude of problems from the spat with its neighbouring countries - with the most worrying one for the nation being a potential food crisis


Just hours after the announcement was made by the Middle Eastern countries, Washington Post reported that images started popping up online of empty supermarket shelves in Qatar - a sign of panic among Qataris who are stocking up on food supplies in fear of shortages.

Why? "Qatar receives 99% of its food from outside. They are wholly dependent on outside supplies, particularly with foodstuffs. Hence the rush on stores in Doha today," explained Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser with Washington-based Gulf State Analytics, as reported by the Washington Post yesterday evening.

Karasik said that the food supply needs to go through the land border that Saudi Arabia has already closed after the diplomatic row exploded.

Al Jazeera reported yesterday, 5 June, that lorries carrying food supplies into Qatar were lined up on the Saudi side of the border, unable to go through after the diplomatic exile.


While Qatar may be forced to deal with a possible food crisis, it is the airspace ban that it has been slapped with that's making headlines.

This includes the airspace that is crucial for Qatar Airways, the flagship carrier, to operate smoothly.

Ever since the news broke, a number of airlines have suspended flights to, via, and from Doha, Qatar.

Here's the list of airlines that are flying to Doha with new waivers in effect following the airspace ban:

Emirates' decision to suspend all flights to and from Doha will affect thousands of passengers.

Image via AP/Kamran Jebreili

1. Emirates:

As instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of 6 June 2017, until further notice.

All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and rebooking to alternate Emirates destinations.

Customers who booked through a travel agency should contact their travel agents.

Customers who booked with Emirates can process refunds for their tickets at www.emirates.com/refund or contact their local Emirates office.

2. Etihad:

From the evening of 5 June 2017, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to and from Doha 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. Detailed information is available by calling the Etihad Airways Contact Centre at +971 (0) 2599 0000, or by visiting‎ etihad.com.

Any further changes to the status of flight schedules to Doha will be communicated through the appropriate channels.

3. flydubai:

From Tuesday 6 June 2017 all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will be suspended until further notice.

Passengers who have purchased flydubai tickets for travel between Dubai and Doha are advised to contact our Contact Centre in Dubai at (00971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shop in Doha at +974 4 4227350/51 or their Travel Agent, or to send us a private message on Facebook to arrange a refund for any unused tickets.

For flydubai cargo enquiries, please call the local office in Dubai at +97146033556, or +97444227340 for the local office in Doha.

4. Saudia:

Saudi Arabian Airlines has confirmed that the airline has suspended all flights to and from Qatar starting today Monday 5 June. All Saudia guests with confirmed tickets will have the option of refunding the tickets or changing their route without penalty.

5. EgyptAir:

As instructed by the Egyptian government, EGYPTAIR will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of 6 June 2017, until further notice.

All customers booked on EGYPTAIR flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and rebooking to alternate EGYPTAIR destinations.

Customers who booked through a travel agency should contact their travel agents.

Customers who booked with EGYPTAIR can process refunds for their tickets by contacting their local EGYPTAIR offices.

6. Gulf Air:

Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, today announced the suspension of its multiple daily service between Bahrain and Doha with effect from 23:59, 5 June 2017 – local Bahrain time – and until further notice.

Gulf Air 24-hour Worldwide Contact Centre has been set up and is contacting affected passengers to offer alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets.

7. Air Arabia:

Flights between Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Qatar will be suspended effective 6 June 2017, until further notice.

Air Arabia passengers who hold existing reservations on Air Arabia flights to Doha beyond the 5 of June will be provided with the option of a full refund, or to be rebooked onto other destinations across Air Arabia’s network.

The information above on the new policies were obtained from the airlines' respective official websites.

As for Qatar Airways, it has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain until further notice

Image via Reuters

"All customers booked on affected flights will be provided with alternative options, including the option of a full refund on any unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternative Qatar Airways network destination."

"For passengers with existing bookings, please call +974 4022 0072 or contact your nearest Qatar Airways office," read the announcement on the airline's website.

So, who will be affected by this airspace ban?

Image via Airliners

People who are flying directly between Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain may have to contact the respective airlines they've booked their tickets with to ask for refunds, discuss alternative options, or consider changing their routes. This is based on each airline's policy on the flights suspension.

Also, passengers to and from these four countries who are due to be transiting through Qatar will have to consider other options, reported BBC. Examples of this would include passengers that are scheduled to fly from Singapore to Cairo via Doha or London to Egypt via Doha.

However, all other flights from Qatar Airways to other destinations will proceed as normal.

If you want to fly between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, you will have to first travel to another country that is not part of the diplomatic row and then head to your destination from there.

As of now, there is no news of how long this air, land, and space restrictions will go on for.

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