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Crisis in Middle East, but Qatar Airways’ Goa business remains unaffected

The diplomatic snafu that has erupted in the Gulf has snapped old links and left tens of thousands of passengers in the lurch. The decision by the Gulf States led by the KSA to cut off all links with Qatar queers the pitch on various levels. A majority of the airlines in the region barring Oman and Kuwait have stopped flights. For the many Goans who work in Qatar this causes a great deal of hardship.

Shaji Thomas, operation head, Qatar Airways, Goa said “ Etihad and Emirates have discontinued all flights. Oman and Kuwait continue operations as before.”

“Our flights to and from Goa remain unaffected. The number of Goans using our flights to go to Doha is nominal. People usually use our flights to go to the UK, USA and Europe,” said Thomas.

He added “We take fewer passengers to the GCC. With regards to Egypt, the season is over and the Goans who travelled to that country have already returned. It’s not an ideal situation to be in but that’s that.”

Sangeeta Shetty of Oman Air said the airline was flying to Doha and people would not have any problems if they had a flight from Muscat, the base of the airline to Doha.

Meanwhile Emirates has a notice on its website which states it would be suspending flights between Dubai and Doha from June 6.

The notice states that as instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of June 6, 2017, until further notice. The last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02: 30 am on June 6. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 03: 50am on June 6. Emirates’ flights to and from Doha today (5 June), will operate as normal.

Travellers bound for Doha, who are boarding their flight from airports around the Emirates network today ( 5 June), will be advised to make alternative arrangements. All customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and rebooking to alternate Emirates destinations. Customers who booked through a travel agency should contact their travel agents. Customers who booked with Emirates can process refunds for their tickets.

What about other flights to Qatar?

A Times of India report adds that the UAE will let Indian carriers—Jet Airways, AI Express, IndiGo—cross its airspace while flying India–Doha only with prior permission. Else, airlines will have to take a longer route—via Iran—which will not only increase the travel time for long-haul flights but also lead to a substantial spike in airfares. In case of diversions, flights don’t have Bahrain as their alternative airport anymore—they may have to use Iran as their best option.

Meanwhile Gulfair on its website also announced the suspension of its multiple daily service between Bahrain and Doha with effect from June 5 until further notice. Gulf Air regrets any inconvenience this may cause to passengers affected by the suspension.

A dedicated customer services team from Gulf Air 24-hour Worldwide Contact Centre has been set up and is contacting affected passengers to offer alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Gulf Air destinations.

Source: O Hearld O

Image Credit: Destination Luxury

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