Qatar has reacted with fury to the cutting of diplomatic ties by four Middle East countries. The Independent has reported that the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have accused Qatar of destabilising security in the region.
In a statement, Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the country had been the victim of a “campaign of lies” and the decision was a “violation of its sovereignty.”
The official UAE news agency, WAM, has announced the country will close all borders to Qatari citizens from Tuesday. Authorities said that any Qatari’s already in the UAE would have just 14 days to leave as a “precautionary security measure”. Qatar’s diplomats in Abu Dhabi have been given just 48 hours to return to Doha.
All UAE nationals will be barred from travelling to, staying in or transiting through Qatar until further notice. The national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways, was the first to announce the cancellation of flights to Qatar with the suspension beginning Tuesday, until further notice.
The last flights from Dubai-based Emirates to Doha are EK847 and EK848, early Tuesday morning. All other flights are cancelled until further notice.
Here’s a full list of airlines that have so far suspended flights to Qatar:
Air Arabia: Flights between Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Qatar will be suspended from 06th June, until further notice.
Gulf Air: The last flight from Bahrain to Doha will be at 8: 55 pm GST. All flights on Tuesday are cancelled.
Emirates: The airline has said: “As instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of 6 June 2017, until further notice.”
Etihad: Has upgraded the aircraft type for remaining services to and from Doha to a Boeing 777. Flights have been suspended from 06th June.
flydubai: From Tuesday, all flydubai flights between Dubai and Doha will be suspended until further notice.
Saudia: The national airline of Saudi Arabia has issued a travel waiver for all passengers who had tickets to travel to or from Qatar.
Egyptair: An announcement has been made on the airline’s Facebook page, confirming that services between Egypt and Qatar have been scrapped until further notice.
In a statement, the government of the UAE said it would be closing “UAE airspace and seaports for all Qataris in 24 hours and banning all Qatari means of transportation, coming to or leaving the UAE, from crossing, entering or leaving the UAE territories.” In effect, that of course bars Qatar Airways from operating any services between Doha and the UAE.
The statement went on to say that authorities would be “taking all legal measures in collaboration with friendly countries and international companies with regards to Qataris using the UAE airspace and territorial waters, from and to Qatar, for national security considerations.”
Saudi Arabia has already closed its borders with Qatar including the one land crossing between the two countries. Pictures have been shared on social media of residents in Qatar’s capital, Doha, scrambling to stock up on food and water – a large percentage of Qatar’s fresh food is imported across the land border.
State owned airline, Qatar Airways, initially issued an advisory to passengers saying that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia until 05th June. However, an updated message on the Qatar Airways website provides the following details:
Saudi Arabia: All flights cancelled until further notice
United Arab Emirates: Flights suspended from 06th June.
Bahrain: Services grounded from 06th June until further notice.
Egypt: Flights will stop at 07:00 am GST until further notice.
The carrier currently operates 164 flights per week between Doha and 10 destination in Saudi Arabia. Qatar Airways first started flying to Jeddah in 1997 and recently started operations to Yanbu and Tabuk.
At the time of publication, Qatar Airways had not commented on the situation unfolding in the UAE. We have reached out to Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad but have not received a response as yet.
The full statement from the UAE government reads:
“The UAE is taking these decisive measures as a result of the Qatari authorities’ failure to abide by the Riyadh Agreement on returning GCC diplomats to Doha and its Complementary Arrangement in 2014, and Qatar’s continued support, funding and hosting of terror groups, primarily Islamic Brotherhood, and its sustained endeavours to promote the ideologies of Daesh and Al Qaeda across its direct and indirect media in addition to Qatar’s violation of the statement issued at the US-Islamic Summit in Riyadh on May 21st, 2017 on countering terrorism in the region and considering Iran a state sponsor of terrorism.
The UAE measures are taken as well based on Qatari authorities’ hosting of terrorist elements and meddling in the affairs of other countries as well as their support of terror groups – policies which are likely to push the region into a stage of unpredictable consequences.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.