Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, flydubai suspend flights to Qatar
Most airlines will suspend their flights from tomorrow, June 6
Emirates, Etihad, Flydubai and Air Arabia have announced that all flights to and from the Qatari capital of Doha will end on Tuesday, June 6, as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain move to cut off all transportation links with Qatar.
According to an Etihad spokesperson, the last Abu Dhabi-Doha flight - EY399 - departed at 02:45am local time on June 6, and the last Doha-Abu Dhabi flight departed at 04:00am the same day. On Monday, flights operated as normal.
The Etihad spokesperson said 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 re-booking to the nearest alternate Etihad Airways destinations.
Similarly, an Emirates spokesperson noted that "as instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha."
The last Emirates flight from Dubai to Doha - EK847 - took off at 02:30am, with the last Doha-Dubai flight taking off at 3:50am. All passengers boarding flights across the Emirates network have been advised to make alternative arrangements.
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused to our customers," the spokesperson added, nothing that all passengers booked on Emirates flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free re-booking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations.
Flydubai, for its part, confirmed that all flights would be cancelled as well.
Air Arabia noted that its last flight to Doha from Sharjah took off at 6:30pm, while the last inbound flight from Qatar took off at 7:25pm, and confirmed that flights between RAK and Doha will also be cancelled effective June 6.
Saj Ahmad, an analyst with the London-based StrategicAero Research, noted that the flight restrictions will have a negative effect on all airlines involved.
"Qatar Airways will of course be severely impacted on key regional routes, especially to cities like Dubai," he said. "But then so too with other GCC and Arab carriers that also fly into Doha. Carriers like Emirates, flydubai and Etihad out of Abu Dhabi will end up reeling from the sudden collapse of traffic rights."
"The damage here isn't a one-way street. Both sides will hurt, and in the mix will be passengers who will have to spend more to get to where they want to be," he added.
The long-term effects, Ahmad added, "are far from clear".
"This has the potential to be a long and drawn out affair," he noted. "While Qatar Airways can look to offset the costs of losing or standing down regional flights from long haul flights, the cost of parking airplanes, crew and other services will not be cheap and the airline will have limited ramp space at Doha to park all its stood down narrow-body fleet."
A Dubai resident, who refused to be named, said he had reserved an August on Qatar Airways to the UK a day before the UAE announced cutting its ties with Qatar.
The announcement, he said, left him on limbo after UAE banned Qatari flights from its airspace. "I booked flights on Qatar Airways because the prices were very low. Now, after waking up and reading the news, I managed to get through to a Qatar Airways staff member on the phone, and he told me that he had not received any orders." He added, "So far, my flight is still going ahead as no confirmation of cancellations were reported, but I doubt it will stay this way."
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