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Friday, March 5, 2021

Bahrain opens up its airspace days after Saudi Arabia, UAE

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Manama has finally agreed to let Doha’s flag carrier travel its skies following a similar decision by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

Bahrain will open its airspace for Qatar Airways flights as of January 11, the civil aviation affairs authority said on Sunday.

While there is still no news on direct flights between Manama and Doha, Qatar Airways flights will resume trips to Saudi Arabia on Monday after the country announced that it was lifting the air, land and sea blockade on Doha on January 4th.

The first Qatar Airways passenger flight,QR 1365 from Doha to Johannesburg, to use Saudi airspace since the Gulf Cooperation Council announced the lifting of the blockade departed from Doha on Thursday evening.

“This evening Qatar Airways began to reroute some flights through Saudi airspace with the first scheduled flight expected to be QR 1365, Doha to Johannesburg at 20.45 this evening, 7 January,” the national carrier confirmed in a statement.‬

The UAE also agreed to open its airspace as of Saturday, the country’s state news agency announced on Friday after claims made by its foreign minister Anwar Gargash that travel and trade would be resolved in a week.

Read also: UAE to open airspace and borders to Qatar on Saturday

Qatar’s flag carrier, vessels and vehicles will now be able to freely move through the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s territories after being banned from doing so for over three years, with no news from Egypt regarding the restoration of flights yet.

The crisis was triggered in 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed all ties with Doha and imposed an illegal land, air and sea blockade over accusations it “supports terrorism”. Qatar has consistently and categorically rejected the accusations, saying the move against Doha was an attempt to strip it of its sovereignty.

On January 5th, the countries involved in the dispute announced they would fully restore diplomatic relations after signing the Al-Ula Declaration during a ceremony at the annual GCC summit.

The declaration stipulated several collaborations, among them providing GCC citizens with the freedom of movement, investment, employment and equal opportunities in education and healthcare across the region.

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