Saudi Arabia, Bahrain revoke Qatar Airways’ licenses

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 21, 2017 shows a sign marking directions to the check-in for Qatar Airways at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Qatar Airways on June 6, 2017 announced it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, in the wake of a diplomatic boycott against Doha by regional powerhouses. (AFP)
Updated 07 June 2017

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain revoke Qatar Airways’ licenses

RIYADH/DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on Tuesday revoked the licenses of Qatar Airways and ordered its offices to be closed within 48 hours, as the two Gulf Arab states severed transport links with Doha in a diplomatic row.
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said in a statement that any licenses granted to Qatar Airways employees would also be withdrawn.
A few hours later Bahrain announced it had canceled licenses granted to Qatar Airways and had also asked the airline to close its offices within 48 hours, the official Bahrain News Agency reported.
Analysts said the fallout from canceled flights resulting from Saudi Arabia’s action would cost Qatar Airways millions of dollars in lost revenue.
“The revoking of the license suggests that this spat will be a long and drawn out. You don’t revoke licenses if you expect a resolution quickly,” Saj Ahmad, the Britain-based chief analyst at StrategicAero Research, said.
“The real challenge is what Qatar can do to mitigate (the losses), and right now, it doesn’t look like it is in a position to do anything.”
Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority said customers seeking adjustments on tickets to or from Qatar should communicate with the company by phone or through its website.
Dozens of people crowded into the Qatar Airways office in central Riyadh on Tuesday morning, asking for refunds or to be re-booked on flights with other airlines.
“We’re trying to get refunds, but the problem is the logistics. Now if you want to re-book, how are you supposed to deal with the hotel booking, the rental car, the visa?” Ganas Al-Ganas, a Saudi national planning a trip to Europe, said.
The suspension of flights comes three weeks before the start of the Eid holiday week, a popular time for travel in the Gulf.
Qatar Airways said on its website it had arranged three chartered Oman Air flights to transport passengers from Jeddah to Muscat on Tuesday. A connecting Qatar Airways flight would then take them onwards to Doha.
The airline also canceled flights to Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE on Tuesday, the day after it had suspended flights to Saudi Arabia.
The head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday urged Gulf countries to restore air links with Qatar, warning of major travel disruptions.
“Of course we accept that countries have the right to close their borders,” said IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac.
“But connectivity with Qatar must be restored as quickly as possible,” he told AFP, speaking on the sidelines of the group's annual meeting in Cancun, Mexico.
Airline executives at the IATA meeting said it was still unclear how the measures would affect air travel.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker hastily left the meeting Monday.
“We hope the crisis will disappear and aviation is coming back to normal,” said Abdul Wahab Teffaha, the head of the Arab Air Carriers Organization which groups 33 airlines.
“We have to monitor the situation in the next couple of days. The Doha-Dubai sector is particularly busy and we are currently analyzing the situation,” said Christoph Mueller, chief digital and information officer at Emirates airline.
“We operated our last flight just a couple of hours ago, and we are updating the traveling public in time,” he said.


Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

Updated 07 December 2019

Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

  • Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption

BEIRUT: Three lawmakers and members of Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s parliamentary bloc will not abide by its decision to name a new prime minister on Monday. 

Meanwhile, activists in the civil movement are holding meetings to announce a general strike and the blocking of roads on Monday in protest over reports that the new government will not include technocrats.

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption. He later said he would not agree to head a new government unless it consisted of technocrats.

Lawmaker Neemat Frem urged citizens to provide him with the name of their favorite candidate to head the new government, “for you are the primary source of authority, and it is my duty to convey your voice in the binding parliamentary consultations.”

Lawmaker Chamel Roukoz said he will not nominate anyone for the position of prime minister.

Lawmaker Michel Daher declared his intention to boycott the parliamentary consultations if Al-Khatib is the only candidate.

Aoun assured a delegation of British financial and investment institutions, and US bank Morgan Stanley, that binding parliamentary consultations will take place on Monday to form a new government, which will help Lebanon’s friends launch agreed-to development projects.

“The new government’s priority will be to address the economic and financial conditions as soon as it is formed,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

On Friday, Hariri sent letters to the leaders of a number of countries with good relations with Lebanon. 

He asked them to help Lebanon secure credit to import goods from these countries, in order to ensure food security and availability of raw materials for production in various sectors.

His media office said the move “is part of his efforts to address the shortage of financial liquidity, and to secure procuring the basic import requirements for citizens.”

Among the leaders Hariri wrote to are Saudi Arabia’s King Salman; the presidents of France, Russia, Egypt and Turkey; the prime ministers of China and Italy; and the US secretary of state.

On Dec. 11, Paris is due to host a meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon. Reuters quoted a European source as saying: “France has already sent invitations to attend the group meeting.”

Protesters continued their sit-ins in front of government institutions in Nabatieh, Zahle and Saida.

In Tripoli, protesters blocked the city’s main roads, which were eventually reopened by the army.

In Akkar, protesters raided public institutions and called for an “independent government that fights corruption, restores looted funds, and rescues the economic situation and living conditions from total collapse.”

Lebanese designer Robert Abi Nader canceled a fashion show that was due to be organized in Downtown Beirut, where protesters are gathering. 

Abi Nader said he intended through his show to express support for the protests by designing a special outfit called “the bride of the revolution,” and revenues were to be dedicated to families in need.