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Etihad, Qatar Airways suspend flight ops to deepen regional ban rift

Etihad, which operates four return flights to Doha daily, said the measure will be in place "until further notice". Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Doha, Qatar Jun 05, 2017, 10.53 AM (IST)

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said on 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".

Qatar Airways also announced that it has suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia with immediate affect.

"Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" until 1159 GMT the same day, a statement from the Doha-based carrier said.

A spokeswoman added that it was unclear if the suspension would be extended.

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. 

(AFP)
 

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