Qatar Airways Says It’s Business as Usual, Despite Airspace Restrictions
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There’s no doubt that Qatar Airways has been one of the hardest hit entities following the decision of four countries to cut diplomatic ties with the State of Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates restricted all Qatar Airways flights (and any plane flying to or from Doha) from flying over their airspace, which has caused the carrier to eliminate many of its routes and change the flightpaths of others.
But, the airline says that its existing operation isn’t all that impacted. According to Qatar Airways, its operations to and from its Doha hub are running “smoothly,” with the vast majority of its flights operating as scheduled. In fact, it says that within the past week, the airline has flown approximately 1,200 flights, with 90% of them leaving within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time.
Not only has its performance stayed consistent, but the carrier also launched new service to Dublin (DUB) yesterday. Plus, it has a pretty extensive list of routes it’s planning to add: Nice (NCE; July 4) and Skopje (SKP; July 17). Other new destinations to be launched through the rest of this year or next year include Las Vegas (LAS), Canberra (CBR), Douala (DLA), Libreville (LBV), Medan (KNO), Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Santiago (SCL) and Sarajevo (SJJ).
Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said that the blockade of airspace for Qatar aircraft “is in direct contradiction to the convention that guarantee rights to civil overflight.” Al Baker called upon the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to declare the blockade of flights an illegal act. “We are not a political body, we are an airline, and this blockade has stripped us of the rights which are guaranteed to us.”
While Qatar Airways has expressed that business is continuing as normal now, it’ll be interesting to see if that holds true if the tension continues to grow in the region.
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