Airlines suspend flights to Qatar over diplomatic row

Seven carriers, namely Air Arabia, EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai, Gulf Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines, have all announced the suspension of flights to Doha, Qatar.

The move comes after Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen all cut diplomatic ties to Qatar over its support of Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.

Image result for Gulf Carriers
©Airways Mag

The move also means Qatar Airways flights are unable to pass over the airspaces of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen.

This report details statements from all airlines involved, help for passengers and the airspace problems caused.

With no other explanation provided, the airlines’ announced the suspension of all Doha flights from June 6 until further notice. As of today, some Doha bound flights from Gulf states are operational. Full details below.

Airline Statements

Air Arabia

The Sharjah based carrier Air Arabia announced the suspension of two services to Doha, from Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah.

Emirates

Dubai based Emirates released this statement on Twitter.

The UAE carrier also released this statement on their website.

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.

The last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02:30am on 6 June. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 03:50am on 6 June.

Emirates’ flights to and from Doha today (5 June), will operate as normal. Travellers bound for Doha, who are boarding their flight from airports around the Emirates network today (5 June), will be advised to make alternative arrangements.

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 the nearest alternate Emirates destinations.

For more information, customers can call the Emirates Contact Centre on +971 600 555555, or visit‎ www.emirates.com.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers.

Etihad Airways

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways released this statement on their Twitter page, leading to an announcement on their website.

The announcement is as follows:

From the evening of 5 June 2017, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to and from Doha until further notice.

The last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha will depart as EY391 at 21:35 (local time) on 5 June.

The last flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi will depart as EY398 at 22:50 (local time) on 5 June.

The aircraft for these flights has been upgraded to a Boeing 777.‎

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 on +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.

Etihad Airways regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of the suspension.

Egyptair

Egyptian carrier, Egypt Air has released this statement on Twitter.

The country’s aviation ministry also released this statement:

“We will halt all flights between Egypt and Qatar and close off Egyptian airspace to Qatari aircrafts that seek to land or pass through”

This is effective as of Tuesday the 6th of June at 04:00 GMT.

flydubai

Dubai based flydubai released this statement on their Facebook page

From Tuesday 06 June 2017 all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will be suspended until further notice.

Today (05 June 2017) all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will operate as scheduled.

The last flights to operate between Dubai and Doha today (05 June 2017) are as follows:

FZ019 departing from Dubai (DXB) at 21:25 and arriving in Doha (DOH) at 21:25
FZ020 departing from Doha (DOH) at 22:40 and arriving in Dubai (DXB) at 00:50

FZ5001 departing from Dubai (DWC) at 20:20 and arriving in Doha (DOH) at 20:25
FZ5002 departing from Doha (DOH) at 21:25 and arriving in Dubai (DWC) at 23:35

(All times are local)

Passengers who have purchased flydubai tickets for travel between Dubai and Doha are advised to contact our Contact Centre in Dubai on (00971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shop in Doha on 00974 4 4227350/51 or their Travel Agent, or to send us a private message here on Facebook to arrange a refund for any unused tickets.

We apologise for the inconvenience caused.

Gulf Air

Bahrain based Gulf Air have become the second non-UAE based carrier to announce the suspension of Doha bound flights.

They released this statement on their website:

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.

The last Gulf Air flight from Bahrain to Doha (GF530) will depart at 20:55 on 5 June and the last Gulf Air flight from Doha to Bahrain (GF531) will depart at 22:40 on 5 June (all times local).

Gulf Air regrets any inconvenience this may cause to passengers affected by the suspension.  A dedicated customer services team from the 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 and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Gulf Air destinations.

The airline would like to thank all its customers for their patience and understanding and advises them to contact the Gulf Air Worldwide Contact Centre on +973 17373737 or visit the airline’s website gulfair.com for further information. Gulf Air’s official social media accounts Facebook Gulf Air| Twitter Gulf Air | YouTube Gulf Air| Instagram Gulf Air | Google+ Gulf Air will also post regular updates as needed.

Saudi Arabian Airlines

Jeddah based Saudi Arabian Airlines, commonly known as Saudia, was the first of non-UAE based carrier to announce suspension of flights to Doha. A statement was released on their Twitter page.

This is the English translation of the message:

An official source in Saudi Airlines has announced that all flights to and from Qatar will be suspended starting this morning.

Qatar Airways

The airline has responded to the suspension of flights to it’s country and how this will effect its current routes. The main air routes out of Qatar are over Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, meaning all flights now have to go over Iranian airspace before changing course towards the flights destination.

Qatari airspace was also closed off to airlines from Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The Doha based carrier also announced the suspension of flights to Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

These statement was released on their website, detailing the suspended flights:

Suspension of Flights to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Kingdom of Bahrain

Qatar Airways 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 on any unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternative Qatar Airways network destination.

Please check this page regularly for further flight updates.

For passengers with existing bookings, please call +974 4022 0072 or contact your nearest Qatar Airways office: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/worldwide-offices.htmlYou are now exiting Qatar Airways U.S website.Linked content may not meet accessibility guidelines

For more information regarding refund options please visit:http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/en-us/articles/115008284008-How-do-I-go-about-rebooking-or-refunding-my-ticket-You are now exiting Qatar Airways U.S website.Linked content may not meet accessibility guidelines

For further information and FAQs please visit: http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/en-us/sections/115002369667-FAQsYou are now exiting Qatar Airways U.S website.Linked content may not meet accessibility guidelines

A separate statement was released on the airline’s website, detailing charter flights to rescue stranded passengers in Saudi Arabia, operated by Oman Air:

Qatar Airways organises three charter flights to carry its passengers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) via Muscat to Doha

Please be advised that Qatar Airways has arranged for three chartered flights on Oman Air to travel from Jeddah to Muscat today, Tuesday 6th June 2017. A connecting Qatar Airways flight will then transport passengers onwards from Muscat, Oman, to Doha, Qatar.

Flight details are:

WY3502 departing Jeddah 16:00 local time (13:00 UTC 6th June)

WY3506 departing Jeddah 22:00 local time (19:00 UTC 6th June)

WY3504 departing Jeddah 23:00 local time (20:00 UTC 6th June)

Passengers are advised to report directly to King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, three hours prior to the flight times above in order to be registered and accepted on to the flight.

Please check this page regularly for further flight updates.

For passengers with existing bookings, please call +974 4022 0072 or contact your nearest Qatar Airways office: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/worldwide-offices.htmlYou are now exiting Qatar Airways U.S website.Linked content may not meet accessibility guidelines

For further information and FAQs please visit: http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/en-us/sections/115002369667-FAQYou are now exiting Qatar Airways U.S website.Linked content may not meet accessibility guidelines

The airline has urged passengers to regularly check their Travel Alerts page.

Help for Passengers

All airlines that have suspended flights are offering the same options – either a full refund on unused tickets or rebooking onto the nearest alternative destination on its network.

Emirates: You can apply online for refunds or contact your local Emirates office.

Etihad: Passengers should call +971 2599 0000 or visit the airline’s website.

FlyDubai: Call +971 600544445, +974 4 4227350/51, contact your travel agent or send a private message to the airline’s Facebook page.

Air Arabia: Passengers should call +971 6 5580000 or go to its website.

Gulf Air: Passengers can call +973 17373737 or visit its website.

Saudi Arabian Airlines and Egyptair have not issued specific contact numbers for refunds or rebookings.

Airspace Problems

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The above image shows the air routes that Qatar Airways flights are able to take, after the airline was banned from the airspaces of Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

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This image shows several Qatar Airways flights departing Doha on the available airways. Some flights are effected more than others, the Doha – Khartoum route has it’s flight time increased by over 3 hours as the flight cannot travel through Saudi or UAE airspace.

A new NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) was published yesterday regarding Qatar Airways’ access to airspace surrounding Qatar.

NOTAM Updates

Old NOTAM (06-June-2017)
A0208/17 NOTAMN
Q) OBBB/QXXXX/IV/NBO/E /000/999/
A) OBBB B) 1706060000 C) PERM
E) FOR FLIGHTS AFFECTED BY NOTAM A0205/17 THE FOLLOWING AWYS ARE
AVBL:
1-UT430 OUTBOUND VIA RAGAS
2-UR659 INBOUND VIA MIDSI

New NOTAM (07-June-2017)
A0212/17 NOTAMR A0211/17
Q) OBBB/QXXXX/IV/NBO/E /000/999/
A) OBBB B) 1706071748 C) PERM
E) ALL FLT REGISTERED IN THE STATE OF QATAR ARE NOT AUTHORISED TO
OVERFLY BAHRAIN AIRSPACE.

OPERATORS NOT REGISTERED IN KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN INTENDING TO USE
BAHRAIN AIRSPACE FROM OR TO THE STATE OF QATAR REQUIRE PRIOR
APPROVAL FROM BAHRAIN CAA ON THE FLW CONTACT:
TEL:00973 17329035 / 00973 17329096
EMAIL: SCHEDULE(AT)MTT.GOV.BH

Previously, Bahrain allowed Qatar Airways to fly two routes in and out of their airspace and into Iranian airspace. A NOTAM was put in place which banned Qatari aircraft from entering and leaving Bahraini airspace. Now, NOTAM A0212/17 is in action, which states that all non-Bahraini aircraft (including those operated by foreign carriers) flying to/from Qatar require permission from Bahrain to fly through their airspace.

In addition, Qatari aircraft are still banned from flying through Bahrain’s airspace, and with the nullification of the previous NOTAM allowing QR flights through these two airways, non-Bahraini aircraft (operated by QR or otherwise) are now completely sealed off unless specifically allowed by Bahrain. The process of allowing this can end up taking days. For now, it seems flights are being allowed to fly through that airspace as normal.

We will continue to update you on this topic, as the events are still unfolding.

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