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Friday, December 3, 2021

EgyptAir opens first office in Qatar since 2017 GCC crisis


The agreement is the latest move towards restoring ties between Qatar and Egypt. 

Egypt’s national airline opened an office in Qatar on Tuesday, as relations between the two countries get back on track after a years-long dispute

EgyptAir inaugurated its Doha office during a General Assembly of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation meeting held in the Qatari capital. The launch ceremony was attended by the carrier’s chairman, Amr Abu El-Enein, and CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al-Baker, according to Egyptian news outlet Al-Ahram.

Egypt’s Ambassador to Doha Amr al-Sherbiny was also in attendance, as was Acting President of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority Muhammad Al-Hajri and the Secretary-General of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) Abdulwahab Tofaha.

The opening of the office comes after the President of the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority Ashraf Nowier visited Doha in September to sign an agreement that also led to an increase in the number of EgyptAir flights to Doha, Egyptian media reported.

Read also: Qatar-Egypt engaging in major moves to strengthen relations: envoy

In a statement, EgyptAir said the step is the latest in efforts to expand all travel services as per a strategy set by the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation and the carrier.

Despite efforts towards strengthening relations between the two countries, there remains key differences between Doha and Cairo, including media freedom and foreign policy.

However, the latest agreement is seen as a significant indicator of the restoration of ties between Qatar and Egypt, both of which signed the Al-Ula Declaration on 5 January, bringing to an end a three-year long diplomatic dispute.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar and severed all ties with Doha over charges it supports terrorism. Qatar has constantly denied those allegations. 

Cairo withdrew its ambassador from Doha in 2017 immediately after the blockading quartet severed all ties with Qatar.

In August, Egypt and Qatar reappointed ambassadors.

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