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Airlines suspend services into Qatar

Tension has risen between Arab countries as United Arab Emirates lead the way in extending their ban towards Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt have followed the UAE to confirm they have cut off all diplomatic ties with the country that is due to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018.

Closed Borders and Airspace

The consequences include closing their land borders, closed airspace, airports and seaports to Qatari airports which has huge severance for logistics.  It hasn’t been a good year for Qatar, and unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.

Egypt’s foreign minister led the accusations of the richest Arab country of taking an “antagonist approach.” Here are some of the quotes from what the political establishment have said in regards to punishing Qatar:

“Embrace of various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region” - Saudi Arabia statement.

“All attempts to stop it from supporting terrorist groups failed” – Egypt’s foreign minister.

Whilst Bahrain claimed the isolated region of sourcing ISIS equivalent resources. “Media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities, and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain.”  

The impact on air travel in the area has been immediate. Qatar Airways announced it was suspending all flights to Saudi Arabia. Etihad, the Abu Dhabi long-haul carrier said they would suspend all trips to Qatar ‘until further notice.’

Emirates copied suit in banning any sort of travel across Doha.

Industry sources have imposed the ports in Sohar and Salalah in Oman could result in being replaced as the main hub for container traffic by Jebel Ali. This would be until the Saudi-led coalition and Qatar resolve their diplomatic disputes.

Airline Suspensions

All three major airlines in Emirates, Etihad and Saudi Arabia Airlines have suspended flights into Doha. As a result, flight availability on other airlines serving Qatar has become limited and Freight charges have sharply increased. The suspension will cause the most significant damage in transhipment cargo via Qatar. Carriers will now have to look to new solutions for their cargo.

Concerns about the future comes only weeks after US president Donald Trump entered the Middle East to agree a deal worth $110bn to set up an anti-extremist initiative in Riyadh.  

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