UAE has reopened its air and sea borders with Qatar. The move follows the signing of the Al Ula Statement at last week’s GCC summit in Saudi Arabia, in which the GCC nations pledged permanent solidarity.
According to local news agency Wam, on Friday January 8, the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced the reopening of UAE airspace to Qatar flights, and the resumption of air traffic between the UAE and the State of Qatar, effective Saturday January 9.
he reopening of the air borders will drastically reduce the travel time between the UAE and Doha. Direct flights generally take under an hour, whereas the flights that required transit through Jordan or Oman often took up to five hours.
Emirates has said they will resume scheduled commercial flights, although these are not yet available to book on the Emirates website.
A spokesperson for Etihad told The National that “the carrier welcomed the news” of the borders reopening.
“As airspace reopens, Etihad looks forward to recommencing services between Abu Dhabi and Doha and once again, supporting growth of trade and tourism between the two nations,” added the spokeswoman.
“Etihad will announce any developments when confirmed.”
The UAE joins Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in the opening of their air, land and sea borders with Qatar. The GCC nations originally cut ties with Qatar in 2017.
A spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Muhammad Al Bakri said, “The reopening of airspace with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt is welcome news for the region, passengers and the aviation industry during these very difficult times.
“It will permit the resumption of direct flights between these countries and Qatar, eliminating complex transit travel itineraries… The agreement will facilitate the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines globally given the region’s strategic location.”