After lifting the three-and-a-half-year blockade, Saudi Arabia is set to resume flights with Qatar. In a post on Twitter, the country’s state-owned airline, Saudia, said it would operate flights to Qatar from Monday.
According to the Saudi tweet, Saudia is going to operate regular flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha again. There will be four flights a week from Riyadh and three from Jeddah. The first flight from Riyadh to Doha will depart on Monday, January 11.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt reached an agreement on Qatar at the recent Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) conference in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia. Following the agreement with the four blockading countries, the issue of Qatar’s aviation with the countries came to the fore.
On June 5, 2016, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt severed ties with Qatar over allegations of support for alleged terrorism. However, Qatar has denied the Saudi alliance’s allegations. Instead, Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurrahman Ale Sunny, called the blockade a declaration of bloodless war. In his words, several Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have declared war on Doha.
The Saudi alliance had demanded 13 points to lift the blockade against Qatar. Notable among these was the shutdown of Al Jazeera television, the withdrawal of Turkish military bases from Qatar, and the severance of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, rejecting the Saudi alliance’s claim, Qatar leaned more towards Turkey. Turkey also came forward in support of Qatar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alone has thwarted Saudi Arabia’s anti-Qatar blockade.
In the last few months, the Trump administration has been trying to resolve the Saudi-Qatar dispute along with Kuwait. Riyadh also indicated they were interested in resolving the dispute with Doha. Following the opening of the border with Qatar, Saudi Arabia is going to resume flights with the country.