Emirates and Etihad Airways among airlines suspending Qatar flights amid diplomatic row

 
Rebecca Smith
Emirates and Etihad Airways suspend all flights to and from Doha from tomorrow morning
Emirates and Etihad Airways suspend all flights to and from Doha from tomorrow morning (Source: Getty)

The diplomatic row involving Qatar has sparked a flurry of activity from airlines suspending flights to the country.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have all cut ties with Qatar today, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Yemen and Libya also followed suit.

Qatar's foreign ministry said the allegations were "not justified" and were based on "unfounded" claims.

Read more: Brent crude oil above $50 as four Middle Eastern countries cut off Qatar

The states have announced the closure of transport ties with Qatar and have given visitors and residents two weeks to leave. They are stopping flights in and out of Qatar, and will close the airspace to the country's airline, Qatar Airways.

Abu Dhabi's state-owned Etihad Airways, Dubai's Emirates Airline, budget carriers Flydubai and Air Arabia, and Bahrain's national carrier Gulf Air, have all said they will suspend flights to and from Doha.

Gulf Air said it "regrets any inconvenience this may cause to passengers affected by the suspension", with its last flight from Bahrain to Doha departing later today. It has set up a dedicated customer services team to contact affected passengers and offer other options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Gulf Air destinations.

Emirates and Etihad are also both offering full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to alternate cities.

Qatar Airways meanwhile, said on its website that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, starting from noon today. It could face further headaches with numerous flights a day to places like Cairo, Dubai and Abu Dhabi if they are set to grind to a halt too.

The airspace closure could mean flight paths will change and routes will take longer.

Despite the changes, Qatar's foreign ministry said on its site that the measures "will not affect the normal course of life of the citizens and residents" and the government will take all necessary steps "to thwart attempts to influence and harm the Qatari society and economy".

Read more: Qatar Airways close to buying stake in Italian airline Meridiana

Related articles