Qatar Airways responds to travel ban

Manchester, United Kingdom - May 8, 2016: Qatar Airways Boeing 777-3DZ(ER) wide-body passenger airplane (A7-BAP) taxiing on Manchester International Airport tarmac.

In the days following the shock split between Qatar and the surrounding Middle Eastern countries, Qatar Airways has remained fairly quiet despite the concerns over how the new ban will affect travellers.

But in a statement to Travel Market Report, it has broken its silence over how the diplomatic conflict will impact its airline services.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have all cut ties with the country, banning travel between the nations, and significantly, banning Qatar Airways flights from entering the airspace of these nations, claiming Qatar is supporting terrorists and poses a security risk.

Qatar Airways posted on its website on Monday that it had “suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kingdom of Bahrain and Egypt until further notice”. It has since announced on its website that its offices in Dubai, Sharjah and Riyadh have been “closed in accordance with local authority directions”.

Qatar Airways told Travel Weekly in a statement, “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.

“At Qatar Airways, our passengers remain our utmost priority and we will continue to ensure they have a seamless journey to their final destinations.”

Per TMR, in order to keep the rest of its service running smoothly, Qatar Airways is re-routing some longer flights through Turkish and Iranian airspace, according to a source close to the situation.

“Service to and from the US will continue to operate as normal,” the source said.

The ban effectively means that Qatar Airways will no longer be able to fly to Europe and the US through Saudi and Egyptian airspace, and as a result could see passengers subject to longer trip times, inefficient routings that avoid banned airspace, which means added fuel costs, and then compromised ticket sales.

Per The Washington Post, before Qatar’s neighbors’ shut them out, Qatar Airways flights would regularly pass through Saudi and Emirati airspace. In fact, a full 18 per cent of the airline’s flights were to the four countries leading the blockade.

Bahrain’s airspace practically encircles Qatar, initially threatening the entire Qatar airline. If it wasn’t for Bahrain – who has allowed Qatar Airways access to two routes – one for incoming and one for outgoing- the airline would literally be grounded, as you can see in this map from Washington Post:

Speaking at the IATA annual conference in Cancun, Qantas’ International Chief Executive Gareth Evans told The Australian the airline was examining the fallout between its partner airlines and Qatar.

The ban could mean Qataris could be prevented from flying on Qantas flights, as Qatari nationals won’t even be allowed to transit and change planes in any of the banned countries.

Qataris who can’t travel through the Middle East would be offered alternative travel or ­refunds, a Qantas exec told The Oz.

“Obviously we’ve got a relationship with Qatar with OneWorld but we don’t codeshare with Qatar,” Evans said.

“So the impact on our operation and network is very, very minimal.”

Qantas codeshares with Emirates, with the two airlines flying 13 times a day from Australia to Dubai, and provide ‘one-stop’ access to destinations across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“The main issue, and this is developing as we speak, is the UAE has banned Qatari nationals from transiting through the UAE,” Evans added.

“We are looking to see it that affects any passengers. If it does, it will be a very small number anyway and we will offer them alternatives and refunds.”

Qatar Airways has made a big play into Australia recently, with its Sydney route launching just over a year ago, its direct Adelaide to Doha route in May 2016, and a spate of other Aussie routes on the agenda.

Meanwhile, its brand new “revolutionary” QSuite Business Class, which features the industry’s first-ever double bed available in Business Class, with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room.


Email the Travel Weekly team at

bahrain egypt iata middle east qantas qatar qatar airways qatar aiways qatar ban saudia arabia uae

Latest News

  • Hotels

QT Singapore set to open in heritage Eastern Extension Telegraph building

Bookings open today for QT Singapore, in the historic former Eastern Extension Telegraph building along Robinson Road, the first property from QT Hotels & Resorts to open outside Australian and New Zealand. Previously Accor’s So Singapore, then the Hotel Telegraph, QT Singapore will officially launch on September 16 and will feature 134 rooms, ranging in […]

  • Health & Wellness

Sydney is named the world’s top running destination

In the last week, searches for ‘running shorts’ have increased by 82 per cent! Fitness holidays are in high demand with over 200K searches (Google, TikTok and Instagram) but of all the fitness travel trends ‘trail running’ is the peak of popularity with searches up 50 per cent since the start of 2024! So which […]

  • Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines celebrates 20 years of flying to Australia

Hawaiian Airlines marked 20 years of flying to Australia at an appropriately themed cocktail party for 150 guests at Hyde Bar, Pullman Quay Grand Circular Quay, featuring hula dancers, Hawaiian musicians, mai tais, mango martinis and leis. Among the guests were Sydney Airport Station Manager Kathy Mainerd who was also present for the very first […]

  • Aviation

How well did Singapore Airlines handle the aftermath of turbulence terror

It was a routine flight for the passengers and crew of SQ321, taking off from London en route to Singapore. But about 10 hours into the flight, with breakfast service underway, horror-struck, the plane entered an air pocket and dropped a suspected 6000 ft in just three minutes, killing one man and injuring several others. […]

  • Hotels
  • News

Hari Nair On How Expedia Is Tackling Hotel Industry Challenges Head On

Like its counterparts globally, the Australian hotel industry faces many challenges, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising operating costs, increased competition for talent, and changing traveller expectations have forced hotels to adapt quickly to remain competitive. At the recent EXPLORE conference in Las Vegas, Hari Nair, Global SVP & GM of Lodging […]

  • Attractions
  • Tourism

“I wanna try it!” – Internet goes WILD over the world’s largest plastic slide

If you are of a certain millennial age persuasion you may remember rainbow road on Nintendo’s Mario Kart. Evidently created by someone fresh from an acid trip, rainbow road allowed you to drive your kart merrily over a twisting, luminous, multi-coloured road suspended in space, all whilst listening to mildly aggressive techno music. If your […]

  • Aviation

Board Air Canada in Sydney’s CBD via a sleek Light Rail

Visitors flocking to Vivid Sydney will glide through the CBD in the newest addition to the Air Canada fleet – a sleek Light Rail tram wrapped in the airline’s unique livery. The Air Canada-themed tram is part of a new marketing campaign designed to put Air Canada in lights during the Vivid Sydney festival (25 […]

  • Destinations

Australia’s value to the UK visitor economy now the highest on record

A record number of Australians are visiting Britain and spending more than ever before, according to the latest official statistics highlighted by Britain’s National Tourist Agency, VisitBritain. In 2023, Australia’s value to the visitor economy was the highest on record. Visitors from Australia spent a record-breaking £1.6 billion ($3.07 million) on their trips to the […]

  • Tourism

Sensory Tourism Australia launches new travel experiences for vision-impaired international visitors

Sensory Tourism Australia launched its brand at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne this week and is set to provide inclusive and accessible products for vision-impaired international visitors. Sensory tourism is an emerging concept that presents destinations differently, with less emphasis on traditional sightseeing – created by the founders of Cocky Guides, an award-winning group […]

  • Destinations

Dubai tourism numbers soar despite Middle East conflict, top boss tells Travel Weekly

An exclusive Q&A with Shahab Shayan, Dubai Tourism Regional Director for Asia-Pacific addressing all the questions you might have. The Middle East is opening its doors to tourism. Qatar airport has been crowned No.1 airport globally and Saudi Arabia seems to be attracting a buzz. Where does Dubai fit into this equation? We are excited […]

  • Cruise
  • News

Carnival Splendor to the rescue of Aussies and Kiwis left stranded in Vanuatu

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor has come to the aid of a group left stranded in Vanuatu, following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The group, eight Australians and one New Zealander, were visiting the island of Santo when Air Vanuatu cancelled all flights, leaving them without a way home. Carnival Cruise Line responded by offering […]

  • Hotels
  • News

Minor Hotels’ Anantara group reimagines the brand as its portfolio surpasses 50 properties

Anantara Hotels & Resorts is marking a significant milestone with a reimagined brand identity as recent openings across Europe, Middle East and Asia have propelled the brand portfolio beyond 50 properties. Part of the Minor Hotels group, the Anantara visual refresh takes an elegant, pared-back approach that enables each hotel’s unique character to shine – […]