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As of this morning, seven countries in and near the Middle East have cut ties with Qatar: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and the Maldives. The first several nations announced their diplomatic decision this morning, with Libya and the Maldives following suit shortly thereafter.
How you could be affected
While the situation is still developing, we do know that there are quite a few flights that will be affected by this move. Several carriers are already moving to a full stop of flights.
Qatar Airways has already suspended flights to their nine destinations in Saudi Arabia. Saudia has likewise canceled all flights to Qatar starting Monday.
Etihad and Emirates are suspending flights to and from Doha starting Tuesday, June 6. Etihad’s final flight will depart at 9:35 p.m., and Emirates last flight will leave at 10:50 p.m. Monday. Service is canceled moving forward.
Egypt has stated that starting Tuesday, June 6 all flights between the two countries will be suspended as well. Bahrain’s Gulf Air will fly its final flight from Doha this evening (Monday) after which service will be suspended.
The smaller Gulf carriers such as FlyDubai are also affected. Final flights for these two airlines depart Doha tonight and service is canceled starting tomorrow, June 6. As far as flights to and from the Maldives, a premier tourist destination, it is unclear if flights to the island chain will be affected.
If you’re connecting in Doha on Qatar Airways to any of the 6 countries in the coming weeks, you will more than likely be affected. Other impacts on long-haul flights may occur if the six countries close airspace to flights to and from Qatar.
Why is this happening?
The six countries have cited support of terrorism as their primary cause for severing ties with Qatar. The Saudis accuse Qatar of supporting groups that are either directly or indirectly involved in terrorist activities and disrupting the Middle East. The Qatari government completely denied the allegations.
Qatari nationals have two weeks to leave the three gulf states among the seven that have cut ties with the small nation. We’ll have to wait and see if relationships can be mended, or if we’ll see additional countries sever their relationship with Qatar as well. Combined with the Middle East electronics ban, this has really put a crimp in Middle East travel.
What do you think of this situation? Will you be affected?