Four Countries in the Middle East have cut diplomatic ties and transport relations with Qatar. The countries are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain. The government of these countries made this announcement on Monday. Qatar is now isolated diplomatically and physically.
These Countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Muslim brotherhood, ISIS and also aligning itself with Saudi Arabia’s arch enemy, Iran.
Severing these diplomatic ties strongly affects Qatar Airways. According to Will Horton of CAPA Centre for Aviation, Saudi Arabia is the largest market for Qatar Airways. Other major routes for Qatar Airways are Abu Dhabi and Dubai. However, No Qatar Airways representative was present to comment on this.
A statement released by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said;
“In support of the statements issued by the sisterly Kingdom of Bahrain and sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates severs all relations with the State of Qatar, including breaking off diplomatic relations, and gives Qatari diplomats 48 hours to leave the UAE.”
“Closure of 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, and 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.”
Consequently, Qatar Airways can no longer land in these Countries. Although, it is unclear if Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE can ban the airline since they are signatories to International Air Services Transit Agreement IASTA. Saudi Arabia however is not a signatory to IASTA.
Qatar Airways has grown over the past two decades. It is one of the most influential and respected international airlines.