How the Doha, Qatar flights bans affect Australian travellers

By David Flynn, June 6 2017
How the Doha, Qatar flights bans affect Australian travellers

Emirates, Etihad Airways, Flydubai and several other Persian Gulf airlines have cancelled flights to the Qatari capital of Doha following a diplomatic stoush over Qatar's relationship with Iran and alleged support of radical Islam terrorists.

Qatar Airways has also grounded flights from Hamad International Airport to the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

This is likely to see around 80 daily flights cancelled, including Qatar Airways' own Doha-Dubai shuttle which runs 14 times a day.

More than 10% of all airline seats in and out of Qatar are assigned to flights involving the four nations imposing the travel ban, said Diogenis Papiomytis, director of aerospace at Frost & Sullivan.

Plans to bar Qatari jets from entering airspace over those countries could also see many international flights take longer than scheduled.

"Diverting around closed airspace means higher fuel costs and longer flight times," said Mark Martin, head of Dubai-based Martin Consulting.

How does this impact Australian travellers headed to the small but prosperous nation?

Passengers on Qatar Airways' flights from Australia to Doha are unaffected, as are those from the UK – including Qatar Airways' Oneworld partner British Airways – and other parts of the world except for the listed Persian Gulf countries.

However, if you're travelling within the Gulf region on a multi-country trip – visiting clients, government contacts and prospective customers, for example – you'll be stranded trying to get between Doha and Abu Dhabi or Dubai, for example.

You could try having your travel agent re-route you through other nearby countries such as Oman or Kuwait.

At this stage, though, it's worth contacting the airline with which you've booked travel and ask about the options to re-route your flights or taking a full refund under waivers now being offered by each airline involved in the row.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg News


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

It looks bad - the airspace restrictions mean the whole airline could be grounded.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 May 2017

Total posts 15

Do you suspect other airlines to follow suit?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1039

Flights between AU and DOH could be up to an hour longer as they now have to route north of the UAE through Iran airspace before turning SE.

The row could extend to other countries with Yemen now also cutting ties and RJ reportedly cancelling flights between AMM and DOH.

Qatar registered aircraft are currently bared from UAE, Saudi and Egyptian airspace and limited to a single corridor through Bahrain airspace to get between Qatari and Iranian airspace.

11 Jun 2016

Total posts 14

Is this just a Middle East measuring contest? And is this an expected to extend in the future to other European countries for Qatar ? 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 594

I thought it was illegal for ICAO IASTA signatories to close their airspace to commercial flights from other signatory countries? They can block from landing but not from flying through airspace is my understanding.  However Saudi is not a signatory and so they can legally block airspace to whomever they choose.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jul 2014

Total posts 20

Im flying from PER-DOH-LHR in 2 weeks can anyone tell me what the delays are like? Or how long? Im supposed to have a 2 hour 20 minute layover in DOH. Surely someone has recently flown through since this political rift has occurred? I mean it is the time of year to travel to Europe, US ect. 

Info would be greatly appreciated.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1039

QR flights to Africa and South America have major delays. Flights elsewhere have little to no delays.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jul 2014

Total posts 20

Thanks, good to hear

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