On Monday, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar, including all air, land, and sea transportation.
This includes a ban on Qatar Airways flights and all Qatari-registered aircraft from entering their airspace.
But Saudi Arabia is the airline’s largest market, and the UAE is not far behind. In fact, Qatar Airways has the largest presence of any foreign carrier in Saudi Arabia, with more than 50 flights a day.
This has resulted in headaches for the Doha-based airline. Its CEO, Akbar Al Baker, was forced to rush home from the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to attend to the matter.
On Tuesday, Qatar Airways announced it had chartered three flights to evacuate passengers stranded in Saudi Arabia. The chartered flights will take passengers from Jeddah to Muscat, Oman, where Qatar Airways aircraft will then connect them to Doha.
In a statement to Business Insider, Qatar Airways wrote:
“Qatar Airways operations are running as normal with no disruptions to flights with the exception of those to the four countries Qatar Airways has been restricted to fly to. In response to these restrictions, Qatar Airways has arranged for three charter flights departing Jeddah today at 16:00, 22:00, and 23:00 local time to Muscat in order to assist all Qatar Airways passengers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“We encourage all Qatari passengers stranded to make their way to King Abdulaziz International Airport to avail of these three flights today, Tuesday 6th June. Full details of these charter flights are available on Qatar Airways Travel Alert page. All affected passengers in Doha on route to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been assisted with alternative onward travel arrangements.
“At Qatar Airways, our passengers remain our utmost priority, and we will continue to ensure they have a seamless journey to their final destinations.”
The four governments accuse Qatar of destabilizing the region’s security by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and Iran.
In a statement, the Saudi government wrote:
“Since 1995, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brothers have made strenuous and continued efforts to urge the authorities in Doha to abide by its commitments and agreements, yet they have repeatedly violated their international obligations and the agreements they signed … to cease the hostilities against the Kingdom and stand against terrorist groups.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have given Qatari citizens 14 days, starting Monday, to leave the countries.
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