Will your flights be impacted by Qatar rift?
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 18:50
A long time ally of the United States, Qatar has been viewed with lingering suspicion by Washington and its Gulf neighbours over its close relations with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile its bulging $335bn (£260bn) sovereign wealth fund has been quietly extending its economic empire across the globe.
A ban on Qatari flights imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies took effect Tuesday as first efforts were made to resolve the biggest feud to hit the Arab world in years.
Passengers of cancelled flights wait in Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar, Monday, June 5, 2017.
Qatar long has denied funding extremists, though Western officials have accused it of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaida's branch in Syria, once known as the Nusra Front. Egypt's Foreign Ministry accused Qatar of taking an "antagonist approach" toward Cairo and said "all attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed".
Egypt gave the Qatari ambassador 48 hours to leave Cairo, while the Persian Gulf states gave Qatari citizens 14 days to leave their countries. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages, including Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Balkans.
Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives joined Saudi Arabia and Egypt in severing relations with Qatar, which hosts the largest USA airbase in the region.
U.A.E. carriers Emirates, Etihad, flydubai and Air Arabia, as well as Saudi Airlines announced the suspension of all flights to and from Qatar as of Tuesday morning.
In one sign of the impact of the measures, some Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates commercial banks were holding off on doing business with Qatari banks, such as letters of credit, because of the diplomatic rift, banking sources told Reuters.
Qatar Airways' flights to Europe and the Americas won't be affected in any way.
"This will be a very significant disrupter both in loss of air routes to these particular countries, but also because Qatar Airways would now have to fly around those countries rather than over them", Mr Thomas, editor of Airlineratings.com, said.
Qatar expressed regret over this decision calling it groundless.
"What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance", Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
Doha said hackers were behind the release of false remarks attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani published on the website of its national news agency.
Signs of an impending crisis emerged last month.