Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | AFP | Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said Monday it would suspend flights to Qatar after the United Arab Emirates was among major Gulf states to sever ties with Doha in an unprecedented regional crisis.
Etihad said flights would stop on Tuesday, after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they would cut all air, land and sea links with Qatar within 24 hours.
Etihad, which operates four return flights to Doha daily, said the measure will be in place “until further notice”.
Other carriers from the three Gulf countries, including Dubai’s Emirates, are likely to announce similar measures.
The unprecedented measures against Doha include ordering Qatari citizens to leave within 14 days and banning citizens of the three Gulf states from travelling to Qatar.
Doha airport, along with airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have become major hubs after Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways seized a significant chunk of transcontinental travel on routes linking Western countries with Asia and Australasia.
— Elizabeth Dickinson (@dickinsonbeth) June 5, 2017
Qatar denounces ‘unjustified’ cut of Gulf ties
Qatar on Monday slammed the decisions of three Gulf states to sever ties with it, saying they were “unjustified” and aimed to put Doha under political “guardianship”.
“The measures are unjustified and are based on false and baseless claims,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the unprecedented steps taken by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
“The aim is clear, and it is to impose guardianship on the state. This by itself is a violation of its (Qatar’s) sovereignty as a state,” it added.
The host of the football World Cup 2022 said it has been subjected to an “incitement campaign based on fabrications, which reflects an intention to harm Qatar”.
Doha insisted the sanctions, which include the Gulf states severing air, land and sea links with Qatar, “will not affect the daily life of citizens and residents”.
“The Qatari government will take all measures necessary… to foil attempts to affect or harm Qatar’s society and economy,” the statement said.
Qatar has land borders with Saudi Arabia and is separated by Gulf waters from nearby Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.