June 15, 2017
Emirates and Etihad are grateful about retaining its crucial top-tier service advantage after the serious diplomatic crisis between Qatar and several Arab Gulf states has been contributing to the decrease of the air traffic to and from Qatar. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were encouraged to slash all the diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar and to exclude all the Qatari aircraft from their airspace after rising of major safety concerns regarding Qatar’s link with terrorist groups.
Due to the ban imposed, Qatar Airways has to take long routes to continue its long-haul flight operations. The Doha-based airline will bear the loss of almost 52 Gulf flights every week which accounts for 30 percent of its revenue. UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are the destinations from where Qatar Airways derives 18 percent of its capacity.
Due to the fact that Qatar is almost completely encircled by Bahraini airspace that covers a large part of Gulf waters, and its planes usually cross Saudi airspace on their way to the rest of the Middle East, Africa and South America, now Qatari aircraft have to make long diversions by using Iran’s airspace and skirting the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula to avoid Saudi territory. For instance, flights to North Africa are now travelling over Iran and Turkey towards the Mediterranean, instead of flying more directly over Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Qatar being one of the favorite destinations for Nepali migrant workers holds over 400, 000 Nepali workers officially working there. The diplomatic crisis in Qatar will not affect the Nepali migrant workers however; the workers travelling to and fro Qatar will face problem in air travel. Currently, Fly Dubai, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia have suspended their flights to Doha until further notice. So, Nepali migrant workers are facing tough time in booking tickets and are also compelled to buy expensive tickets.
Qatar Airways jointly with Nepal Airlines and Himalaya Airlines is conducting its scheduled flights to Doha from Kathmandu and vice-versa with increase in their flight bookings. Besides, the connecting flights of Jet Airways, Biman Bangladesh and Oman Air are also experiencing rise in their Doha flight bookings.