Saudi Arabia has now revoked Qatar Airways' licence as diplomatic row rages on

Rebecca Smith
Qatar Airways has 48 hours to close its offices in Saudi Arabia
Qatar Airways has 48 hours to close its offices in Saudi Arabia (Source: Getty)

Saudi Arabia's aviation authority has formally revoked Qatar Airways' licence to fly and land in the country, as a rift among the Gulf countries intensifies.

The general authority of civil aviation (GACA) said in a statement that it had withdrawn the airline's licence and ordered Qatar Airways to shut its offices within 48 hours. Any licences granted to the carrier's employees will also be withdrawn.

Read more: Emirates and Etihad among airlines cutting Qatar flights in diplomatic row

It comes after Saudi Arabia had already suspended flights to and from Qatar on Monday, amid a diplomatic row between the kingdom and Qatar, as well as several other countries.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with Doha in a coordinated move yesterday, followed by the likes of Yemen, Libya and the Maldives.

As well as cutting ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism in the Gulf region, the countries closed their airspace to Qatari planes.

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

Qatar Airways is owned by the Qatari government and employs more than 40,000 people worldwide. The capital of Qatar, Doha, has been a major hub for international flight connections, but Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to Saudi, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt as the dispute heats up.

And the row has caused a flurry of activity among other airlines too, set to disrupt travel significantly. The likes of Etihad Airways and Emirates have also been affected, and Qatar Airways will have to take more indirect routes to avoid Saudi Arabia, which in turn will mean longer flight times.

Qatar's foreign minister said today the country was ready for mediation efforts to resolve the crisis as Kuwait's leader heads to Saudi Arabia to try and mediate the dispute.

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

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