Saudia Airlines suspends all Qatar-bound flights

(Photo courtesy: Saudia Airlines)
Updated 05 June 2017
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Saudia Airlines suspends all Qatar-bound flights

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines, known locally as Saudia, has suspended all flights to Qatar, it said on its official Twitter account Monday.
Other airlines, including Emirates, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, have also announced similar moves, while Qatar Airways has suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and of being pro-Iran.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued a decree prohibiting all Qatari airlines and Qatar Airways from landing at Saudi Arabian airports.
It is also preventing all private and commercial airlines registered in the Kingdom from operating in Qatar (on both direct and indirect flights).
GACA will also prevent all Qatari airlines and Qatar Airways from crossing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia starting from June 6, 2017, at 00:01 UTC.
All airlines and non-registered aircraft in the Kingdom or Qatar wishing to cross the Kingdom from Qatar should communicate with the GACA within a week to determine the necessary procedures for continued operation in Saudi airspace.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said on its official website Monday that it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.
“Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” until 1159 GMT the same day, a statement from the airline said.
A spokeswoman said it was unclear if the suspension would be extended.
Qatar Airways flies to nine cities in Saudi Arabia.
UAE carriers Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia all announced earlier on Monday they would suspend flights to Doha starting from Tuesday morning.
It was not immediately clear if Qatar Airways would also suspend flights to other countries.

– With input from AFP and Reuters


US approves $3.8 billion F-16 sale to Morocco

Updated 24 min 31 sec ago
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US approves $3.8 billion F-16 sale to Morocco

WASHINGTON:  The United States on Monday approved the sale of 25 F-16 fighter aircraft to Morocco for $3.8 billion, the State Department announced.
Besides the new Block 70/72 F-16s, equipped with state of the art electronic systems and weaponry, Washington also approved the modernization of 23 F-16s already in the Moroccan air force fleet, for $983 million.
The State Department said the sale would not affect the balance of forces in the region.
It can still be blocked by the US Congress, which has 30 days to raise any objections.
More than 4,500 of the Lockheed Martin-built F-16s have been delivered since 1978.
It is gradually being replaced by the stealth F-35 fighters but more than 3,000 of F-16s are still in use in 25 countries, thanks to constant upgrades.
The Moroccan military ordered 24 F-16s in 2008. It lost one aircraft in action in 2015 during Saudi-led air operations in Yemen.