Amid the biggest diplomatic crisis in the Gulf after four Arab nations cut ties with Qatar — accusing it of destabilising the region with its support for Islamist groups, its state-owned flag carrier has begun diverting its flights to Europe, North America and North Africa via Iran instead of Saudi Arabia, flight monitoring services said on Tuesday. All Qatar Airways routes to the West would now pass through Iran and Turkey airspace, Efe news quoted the Flight Radar and Flight Aware websites. Qatar Airways has offered all its customers an alternative route or refunds on their flights.
The cutting of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain on one side and Qatar on the other has resulted in the closure of the airspace of these countries to Qatari flights. The only country that broke off with Doha but did not close its airspace to Qatari flights was Egypt. The most affected by the changes were those destined for the Mediterranean countries — Italy, Morocco or Cyprus — whose usual routes are now diverted several thousand kilometres.
The Qatar Airways announced on Monday the suspension of its flights to the four Arab countries after they accused Doha of supporting terrorism and undermining stability in the Middle East.