Tensions in the Gulf are melting?
June 2017, Saudi Arabia along the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt severed political ties with Qatar. The decision came after Doha was accused of supporting terror groups. Well, we are not here to discuss the political side of the story. Due to the blockade, Qatar Airways faced some of the most immanent setbacks. More than 24 routes were shut with more than 50 thousand passengers already booked on flights. Out of 24 routes most were operated in Saudi Arabia. Not only Qatar Airways but all aircraft bearing A7 initials were stopped to use Saudi airspace. Saudi Arabia not being a signatory of the Chicago convention was legally allowed to ban the Qatari airplanes. As a result, Qatar Airways had to take detours to operate flights to North and Central Africa. Increasing the cost means increasing the ticket price. Despite losing some of the most profitable routes, the airline continued to expand.
Gulf Cup and FIFA Club Cup
Qatar recently became the host for the Gulf Cup and surprisingly Saudi Arabia and Bahrain participated. Not only their football team participated in the tournament but their national carriers operated flights to Doha as well. Bahrain won the gulf cup and after 30-months of tensions the middle east witnessed the smiles on all gulf nations. Moreover, Qatar is hosting the FIFA club world cup and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal Football Club is representing Asia in the event. The middle east is in love with football and whats better then sports dissolving the tensions among the Arab nations.
Considering all the fuss going on with football, political developments were also seen in the same duration. Qatari Prime Minister was present at the Riyadh Summit held in the capital of Saudi Arabia. However, no prime talks were held on the Crisis but the Expert says that Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s participation in regional football events is a sign that the nations are likely to engage with Qatar.
Back to the topic, During all these developments and events we had got a little insight from Qatar national airline. Some of our friends in Qatar Airways informed us that Qatar Airways is likely to resume flights as soon as the blockade ends officially. The airline in concern is one of the key players in the aviation industry. CEO, of Qatar Airways H&H Akbar Al-baker, is one of the most prominent personalities in the aviation industry.
The recent developments in terms of culture and sports have melted the 30-month old tensions among the Gulf nations. On 18th December Qataris celebrated its 141st national day. The political experts hint an official end to blockade to take place very soon.
Featured Image Credits: Qatar Airways on Flickr
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