Saudi Arabia Finally Opens Borders To Qatar

Written and Published January 5, 2021

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in talks to end a diplomatic dispute that’s been ongoing since 2017 when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt imposed a diplomatic, trade, and travel embargo on Qatar. Both the United States and Kuwait have worked with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to end the dispute. Now, Saudi Arabia finally reopened its land, sea, and most importantly – air borders to Qatar.

Saudi Arabia Finally Opens Borders To Qatar

The Four Arab States Impose Sanctions on Qatar

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain imposed sanctions on Qatar back in June of 2017. The four Arab countries accused Qatar of financing militant groups and having alleged ties to Iran. Qatar heavily denied these accusations.

The anti-Qatar states gave a list of 13 demands for Doha to fulfill in order to resolve the issues, which Doha denied claiming an attack on the countries sovereignty. As a consequence of these sanctions, Qatar was banned from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain airspace, making it very difficult for Qatar Airways. The airline was forced to make very long routes around the Arabian Peninsula in order to avoid the neighboring airspace. One of the biggest sources of revenue for Qatar were flights to and from Saudi Arabia, almost a fifth of all income, making this ban a huge financial hit for the airline as well.

Saudi Arabia Finally Opens Borders To Qatar

Saudi Arabia and Qatar announced a few weeks back that they are in talks and very close to ending this diplomatic dispute and removing the sanctions imposed on Qatar. The diplomatic talks between the two countries were mediated by the USA and Kuwait, and the first point on the agenda is ending the flight ban imposed on Qatar.

Now it is official, Saudi Arabia is reopening land, sea, and air borders to Qatar. The deal was announced at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting, and it is effective immediately. This is huge news for Qatar and Qatar Airways. However, it is still unclear if the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain will follow.

Saudi Arabia Finally Opens Borders To Qatar

Qatar Airways Increases Sao Paulo Services

Qatar Airways made an official announcement that the airline will increase its Sao Paulo services. The airline will also expand codeshare cooperation with LATAM. This deal will allow Qatar passengers access to 45 additional LATAM flights and also access to over 40 domestic and international destinations on the LATAM network.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said in an official press release:
South America is a strategically important market for Qatar Airways. We are proud to demonstrate our strong commitment to passengers travelling to and from South America by providing even more flexible travel options. By increasing São Paulo services to 10 weekly flights and expanding our codeshare agreement with LATAM Airlines Brasil, we will further cement our position as the airline of choice for customers travelling between Asia, the Middle East and South America.

Qatar Airways will expand its Sao Paulo service to 10 times per week on the Airbus A350-1000. Frequent flyers will be able to earn and redeem miles with both airlines. Also, tier status will be recognized at certain airports so members can enjoy priority check-in and priority boarding.