Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their diplomatic ties with Qatar prohibiting the airline to fly through their airspace accusing it of supporting terrorism.
Qatar Airways started as a big year in 2017. It debuted luxurious new business class suites and was recognised as the first airline in the world to offer, “end-to-end baggage tracking”, unveiled a free stopover program for passengers, became the official partner airline for the FIFA World Cup and even managed to skirt the ban of carry-on electronics mandated by the United States.
Saudi state news agency SPA said that (Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly.
Qatar however said that it was facing a campaign aimed at weakening it, denying it was interfering in the affairs of other countries. Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.
What the shutdown in ties means for Qatar and how it will be affected is yet to be determined. Without access to neighbouring airspace, the airline must make cumbersome detours, often over Iran and Turkey to fulfil its flight schedule, which could mean schedule delays and increased expenses for the carrier.
According to the experts’ prediction, the airline will have to cancel more than 50 flights a day or 10 percent of its volume.
The airline has issued a statement that “operations are running as normal with no disruptions to flights with the exception of those to the four countries Qatar Airways has been restricted to fly to.”
Donald Trump took to the social media tweeting to take credit for the breakdown in diplomatic ties.