For those not aware, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt have cut political ties to Qatar over its alleged “support of terrorism.” Along with this, Etihad has just announced that they are suspending all of their flights to Doha until “further notice.”
Etihad operates four flights per day to Doha from its hub in Abu Dhabi:
Passengers booked on flights to/from Doha can receive a full refund for their unused leg.
Will other airlines follow suit?
It makes sense that Etihad is the first airline to suspend flights to Doha as it is a state-sponsored airline and the “official airline of the UAE.” It would be hypocritical for the UAE to cut ties but allow its national airline to continue flying there.
While Emirates is not technically a state-sponsored airline, they are certainly “well-integrated” with the government of the UAE. It will be interesting to see if they follow suit. As for Saudia and EgyptAir, I could see them also cutting ties to Doha, however I think both airlines have more distance from their respective governments than Etihad and Emirates.
Will Qatar Airways be affected?
If the UAE is going as far as blocking Etihad’s flights to the UAE, it would make sense that they would block Qatar’s flights to all airports in the UAE. Nothing has been reported yet, however. This would be a massive change for the airline as they operate to Abu Dhabi, Dubai (both DXB and DWC) and Sharjah.
This seems to have blown up quickly. I am amazed to see Etihad suspending flights so quickly and it will be interesting to see if other countries and their respective airlines follow suit/block Qatar Airways flights.