Qatar Airways complains boycott forced suspension of planned Africa routes

The airline has admitted that the boycott has hit its profits (AFP/File)
Updated 27 February 2019

Qatar Airways complains boycott forced suspension of planned Africa routes

JEDDAH: Qatar Airways has been forced to suspend planned new routes to Africa because of pressure from a boycott over Doha’s links to extremist groups.

The airline said the sanctions by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt meant it “had to suspend some planned new destinations especially in West and Central Africa.”

Since the 2017 boycott, Qatari jets have been banned from the airspace of its three Gulf neighbors, forcing flights to carry out large detours.

The quartet of Arab nations cut transport, trade and diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the country of hosting and funding terror groups an interfering in their internal affairs.

Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al-Baker, has previously blamed the boycott for his airline’s poor financial performance. In September, the airline said it suffered a $69 million loss for the financial year and said the severing of ties with other Arab countries was behind it falling into the red.


Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

Updated 25 min 26 sec ago

Stranded Egyptians return from Sudan, Kuwait and Qatar

  • More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan
  • Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10

CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptians who had been stranded overseas because of the COVID-19 pandemic returned to Egypt on Wednesday as the country reopened its airports, which have been closed for three months.

More than 1,000 Egyptians returned from Kuwait, 308 from New York, 174 from Qatar, and 217 from Sudan. The latter came through the Qastal border crossing, which reopened last month after Sudan closed its border in March.

Mustafa Abul-Magd, director general of preventive medicine in Aswan, said that COVID-19 tests were conducted at the quarantine location at the crossing, and that none of the returnees had tested positive.

Meanwhile, Sharjah-based airline Air Arabia announced it would be providing Egyptians in Jordan with a flight from Amman to Cairo on July 10. Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Muhammad Manar Enabah had previously announced that national carrier EgyptAir and Air Cairo would be providing 315 flights to return 57,000 Egyptians stranded abroad. The Egyptian Embassy in Germany has also announced the resumption of flights between the two countries, meaning Egyptian expats there can also return home.

Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram thanked all Arab countries for their support of Egyptian workers abroad during the COVID-19 crisis, and stressed that the whole country has worked to repatriate all Egyptians who wanted to return. “The Egyptian citizen is now prioritized in the country. The state has managed to deal with the anxieties of Egyptians abroad,” Makram said.

Journalist Hassan Al-Rashidi told Arab News that Egypt — with the help of several other countries — has “proven that it never forgets its citizens, even in times of crisis.”
Al-Rashidi added that the suspension of flights had had a major impact on tourism, which plays a huge role in Egypt’s economy. He said the resumption of flights would see many tourism jobs reinstated.