Friday, 8 January 2021

Qatar Airways flights back over Saudi Arabian airspace

Qatar Airways operated a flight QR1365 around 2045 on Thursday 7th January from its home base in Doha to Johannesburg, which is not unusual, except this flight flew through Saudi Arabian air space for the first time in many months.

This new flight routing was only made possible are a thaw in relations between Qatar and its near neighbours. The Saudi foreign minister has confirmed his country and its three Arab allies have agreed to reinstate full ties with Qatar.  The Gulf Leaders met earlier this week for the annual Gulf Cooperation Council conference, during which they sighed a special “solidarity and stability” agreement.  

Saudi Arabia also opened its land border with Qatar earlier this week after closing them around three and a half years ago when the diplomatic disagreement escalated dramatically. Saudi leaders joined forces with Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE to halt all trade and diplomatic relations wich included a total blockade of Qatar and forced the airline to operate flights outside of the airspace belonging to those four other nations.

Egypt signed a reconciliation deal with Qatar on Tuesday 5th along with the other nations in a move which has been welcomed by other key players in the region, including Iran and Jordan.

The normalising of relations will give Qatar Airways a massive boost as it will now be able to shorten then flight duration of many flights. It will also be able to reintroduce other destinations that had to be put on hold during the long blockade. 

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