Qatar Airways is set to resume operations in Saudi Arabia after the country has restored diplomatic ties with Qatar’s home country by signing the Al Ula Declaration, a solidarity and stability agreement between Saudi Arabia and five other countries of the Gulf region. The airline has already made some changes to its flight schedule by adding renewed Saudi Arabian destinations.
Qatar Airways resumed operations to Riyadh on January 11, 2021. The airline also plans to resume flights to Jeddah and Dammam on January 14 and January 16, 2021, respectively. The resumed operations will be operated using Qatar Airways widebody planes, including Boeing 777-300s, Boeing 787-8s, and Airbus A350s.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways might also catch the opportunity to expand its network by adding services to Bahrain, as the country has recently announced the reopening of its airspace for Qatar-registered aircraft.
“The relevant notices have been amended regarding Qatar-registered aircraft commencing Monday morning, January 11, 2021, at 00.01 GMT,” told the Bahrainian authority to local media.
Back in June 2017, Qatar was accused of supporting terrorism by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. At the time, the four countries imposed sanctions on Qatari aviation by locking out their airspaces. The blockage had significantly changed the flight operations of Qatar Airways as the flying time and mileage increased due to necessary detours.
Regarding financial damages caused by the Gulf blockade, Qatar Airways demanded compensation from four blockading states in July 2020. The claim was based on ICAO airspace agreements that have been signed in the past. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favor of Qatar in the Gulf airspace blockade dispute.