Four (update: now five) nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, Qatar Airways affected?

In a pretty stunning announcement, the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, (announced shortly after) and The Maldives announced an immediate cessation of diplomatic relations with Qatar.  It’s a convoluted argument, but The Guardian (and many other outlets) reports that Saudi Arabia cut all diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar and urged “brotherly countries to do the same”.  So far the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have joined.

Much of this is due to Qatar’s close relationship with Iran, sworn rival of Saudi Arabia.  Qatar and Iran share rights to the largest oil field in the world, so it’s understandable that they’d be pretty close.  I’d personally rather not get into the geopoliticals of the situation, since this is just a mere travel blog, but the link above to the Guardian article delves into it pretty well.

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Airbus A350 Engine

So how might this affect Qatar Airways?

Well, the announcement said that all air, land, and sea contracts were immediately suspended between Qatar and the affected countries.  This means that Qatar Airways likely will no longer be permitted in the airspace of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, or Bahrain.  I’m really curious how this will play out, since Egypt and Saudi Arabia are both quite large and Qatar uses their airspace all the time on myriad routes.  And, yes, this means that Qatar jets may not be permitted to land in those countries on scheduled flights.

The countries which cut ties to Qatar are giving Qatari citizens 14 days to leave the country and diplomats 48 hours to return to Doha.  I’d expect to see more news in the next 48 hours about what this means.

Wait, does this mean my Qatar flights might be cancelled?

Don’t go cancelling hotels or travel plans quite yet.  This news is an hour old.  There are all sorts of meetings that will take place before anything is announced.  At this point if you are scheduled to fly on Qatar Airways to Egypt, the UAE (including Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Saudi Arabia, or Bahrain, the best thing for you to do is pay attention to the news.  If flights between Qatar and the affected countries truly are cancelled you will need to make alternate arrangements.

Don’t panic.

The geopolitical situation in the Middle East is incredibly complex and certain events take place from time to time that bring things to a boil.  While this announcement probably catches you off guard, there’s no reason to panic at this point or assume that the Middle East is less safe now than it was yesterday.  Let’s all pay attention to the situation and see what happens.  I’ll do my best to keep you updated as I find out more information.

37 Comments

  1. Just curious if Qatar is no longer permitted in the airspace of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, or Bahrain, how will this effect other routes for Qatar airways. For Example – I have a flight booked on Qatar from Auckland to London with a stop over in Doha. Will this affect my travel if we cant pass over those countries or are there alternative routes to get to other destinations?

    Reply
    • There are alternative routes, the flights will just take a bit longer, they’ll likely have to fly in over Iran, which for a route like LHR-DOH will be out of the way a little bit.

      Reply
  2. I have a flight from Manchester to Dammam (Saudi Arabia) via Doha. Does this mean I have to book another flight from Doha with a different airline?

    Reply
    • Mohammed, Qatar has yet to announce any cancellations but I would pay very close attention to the news. Depending on when your flight is the answer is likely yes, but anything could happen at this point.

      Reply
  3. I have a flight booked to Jeddah via Doha with Qatar Airways on Wednesday. I have a return from Jeddah via Doha. Am I affected by the decision?

    Reply
    • Pay very very close attention to the news in the next 12-24 hours. Etihad and Emirates have already cancelled service to Doha effective 6 June. There’s been no official word from Qatar Airways at all, but you will very likely be affected.

      Reply
  4. I have a Qatar Airways flight from New Delhi, India to Zurich with change over at Doha on 10 June. Will it be affected by the current ban?

    Reply
    • Not at the moment, as neither India nor Zurich have cut relations with Qatar. Pay close attention to the news in the coming days in case that changes.

      Reply
  5. I have a flight from South Africa to Kuwait via Doha with Qatar airways. flight booked for June 10th.

    Reply
    • Pay close attention in the next few days Julie, Kuwait hasn’t made any announcements yet but could at any time.

      Reply
  6. I have a flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha and then Doha to Edinburgh on the 8th of June. Will my flight be affected??

    Reply
    • Yes. Qatar Airways hasn’t made any announcements yet but both Emirates and Etihad are canceling flights to Doha. I am not sure Qatar Airways will be allowed to operate out of the UAE as soon as tomorrow. Pay very very close attention in the coming hours and perhaps start looking at alternate flights directly out of the UAE instead of through Qatar.

      Reply
  7. I am due to fly from the UK to Zanzibar in July, both flights with Qatar, changing in Doha. Is there any reason to worry that these flights might not go ahead? And is safety a consideration do you think?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Your flights should not be affected based on what we know right now. I do not believe safety should be a concern.

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for your reply. So from what I’m reading online it looks like we will probably take a different route which I’m guessing will be longer – surely not over Syria and Iraq? problem is with the original flight times I only had 2 hrs connection in Doha and as I’ll be traveling alone with a young child much less than that would be tight! Should I wait for Qatar to contact me?

        Reply
        • I’m sure Qatar will be adjusting schedules to accommodate any significant changes in flight time. Flights will avoid Syria and Iraq and likely go over Turkey and Iran (that’s where they’re flying right now)

          Reply
  8. I have a Qatar Airways flight from Helsinki to Dubai with change over at Doha on 19 June. Will it be affected by the current ban?

    Reply
    • Most likely. We’re still waiting to hear from Qatar Airways though.

      Reply
  9. I have a booked flight of Qatar Airways from Dammam, KSA to Doha & Doha to Multan, Pakistan. (Connected flight of Qatar Airways from Dammam to Multan) on 10th June 2017.

    Should i go for alternate? or this will get settled till 10th? please update if possible

    Reply
    • Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to/from KSA. Call +974 4023 0072 for assistance.

      Reply
  10. Do this crisis affects the employees of qatar?

    Reply
    • I would contact your supervisor, I do not know.

      Reply
  11. I have a Qatar Airways from Medinah to karachi dated 24 June 2017 and return from karachi to medinah 15 july 2017. Will be effected by current ban?

    Reply
    • Unless service restarts, yes. Contact Qatar Airways.

      Reply
  12. Dear sir
    I have a flight from Nairobi to Doha via Saudi Arabia airspace on June 10, 2017. Please advise me.

    Reply
    • You should be fine, they will just reroute around the Arabian Peninsula.

      Reply
  13. We have flights from Philadelphia to arusha, Tanzania stopping in Doha on July 20 and returning on August 2. What is your
    Advice about these flights should airspace be affected.

    Reply
    • You should be fine since you’re not connecting to/from one of the affected countries. The airspace thing, while inconvenient, will just require routing via Turkey and Iran instead of the more conventional route.

      Reply
  14. hello i know i am most likely to be affected, my flight is going to be sandwiched between the two (dubai-doha-manila and vice versa) on june 26 2017 but what i don’t get is that i couldn’t get thru to qatar airways contact numbers here in dubai. should i fret hard right now? because i really wanted to know when i should get my flight cancelled or when to ask for a refund. im confused

    Reply
    • Keep trying, they are getting thousands of phone calls right now.

      Reply
  15. Flight from Auckland to London with brief stopover at Doha on the way.However booked a 3 day stopover there when ŕetùrning early next month.

    Reply
    • You should be fine, enjoy your trip!

      Reply
  16. My booked travel with Qatar from Stockholm to Jakarta at thursday, June 8, 2017, is it would be dangerous route now? Thank you.

    Reply
    • You should be fine, Qatar is a very safe airline.

      Reply
  17. Flying to Chicago via Doha in August with Qatar gor the first time.. Is it safe and should I cancel. Already paid… concerned

    Reply
    • It will be safe, nothing to worry about there.

      Reply

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