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In a somewhat shocking turn of events, several Gulf countries have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. You can read about it on cnn.com, bbc.com or other news outlets. Why does this matter to InsideFlyer UK readers? Well, governments are instructing their airlines to suspend air service to/from Doha, which might affect travel plans.
For now, Emirates and Etihad have announced suspensions starting tomorrow.
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.
The last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02:30am on 6 June. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 03:50am on 6 June.
Emirates’ flights to and from Doha today (5 June), will operate as normal. Travellers bound for Doha, who are boarding their flight from airports around the Emirates network today (5 June), will be advised to make alternative arrangements.
All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations.
For more information, customers can call the Emirates Contact Centre on +971 600 555555, or visit www.emirates.com.
We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers.
Etihad has released a similar statement
From the morning of 6 June 2017, Etihad Airways will suspend all flights to and from Doha until further notice.
The last flight from Abu Dhabi to Doha will depart as EY399 at 02:45 (local time) on 6 June.
The last flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi will depart as EY390 at 04:00 (local time) on 6 June.
Flights on 5 June will operate as normal.
All customers who are booked on Etihad Airways flights to and from Doha are being provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Etihad Airways destinations. Detailed information is available by calling the Etihad Airways Contact Centre on +971 (0) 2599 0000, or by visiting etihad.com
Any further changes to the status of flight schedules to Doha will be communicated through the appropriate channels.
Etihad Airways regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of the suspension.
It’s fairly safe to assume that Gulf Air (Bahrain), Saudia, Egyptair, etc. will all be announcing suspensions in due course.
If it hasn’t happened yet, it is quite likely that these countries will also prohibit Qatar Airways from flying to their respective countries. They may even close their airspace, which might make it tricky for flights to/from Europe to find a way through, although I suppose they can detour through Iran and Turkey.
[Edit: The Maldives has now joined in, so flights on Qatar Airways to Male are also likely to be suspended]
For further updates on the situation of Qatar Airways, you can monitor the “Travel Alerts” section of their website.
I will try to keep updating this post as information trickles in about the impact on aviation in the region. Are you affected, or have you heard something else that other readers need to know?