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.
Due to the unjust blockade against #Qatar, we had to suspend some planned new destinations especially in West and Central Africa, highlighting how the illegal blockade has not only impacted my country but also other innocent countries. #avaf19 pic.twitter.com/4tAQzGLvVf
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) February 27, 2019