Saturday, June 12, 2021

First Qatar Airways Flight Transits Saudi Arabian Airspace Since 2017

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Qatar Airways is marking a landmark moment today with its flight to Johannesburg from Doha. This is no ordinary service. The historic trip is the first time that the flag carrier of Qatar traveled through Saudi Arabian Airspace since June 2017.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900
The aircraft that is performing the flight is a Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900. Photo: Qatar Airways

The first of many

Qatar Airways shared earlier this evening that it has started to reroute some flights through Saudi airspace. Flight QR 1365 is the first of the services to fly in this direction since the blockade started on the country by several of its neighbors. There was finally a resolution to the situation this week.

According to FlightRadar24.com, QR 1365 had a scheduled departure time from Hamad International of 20:45 and is due to arrive at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International at 04:35 tomorrow (all times are local). At the time of writing, the plane is just passing the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah on its way to the South African city.

FlightRadar24.com Map Qatar Airways Saudi
With this course, the plane travels coast to coast over Saudi Arabia. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Over the last three and a half years, Qatar Airways hasn’t been able to fly this way to South Africa. Just yesterday, the flight on the same route had to travel east past the Persian Gulf, south via Oman, over the Arabian Sea, and then through the east coast of Africa.

FlightRadar24.com Map Qatar Airways
Previously, the route went in a completely different direction. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

So, now, the carrier doesn’t have to make lengthy detours to get to many of its destinations. For an airline that prides itself on connecting passengers from all over the globe, it was at a disadvantage compared to its neighbors that go for a similar approach.

Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways continually appealed the blockade. Photo: Getty Images

A friendlier neighborhood

However, on a more local scale, the ending of the blockade means that there will be more operations between countries in the Middle East. Qatar will once again enjoy activity between the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain. There are several important hubs in these nations, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manama, and Jeddah.

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In the past, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker often spoke about his frustration with the blockade, which he called illegal. However, when speaking about the nations involved, he expressed that the door is open for his neighbors. Now that the tensions have finally relaxed, his airline wasted no time and took advantage of the cooler climate.

Boeing Getty
Akbar Al Baker (right) had been waiting for this moment. Photo: Getty Images

A new chapter

Altogether, Qatar Airways will be glad about the progress made. It is a strong start to the year for the airline. It has been facing significant challenges over the last year during the global health crisis. However, it remains an important vessel in connecting communities around the world amid the tough conditions. So, passengers will also be happy with these advancements.

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Simple Flying reached out to Qatar Airways for comment on its services that pass through Saudi Arabian airspace. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.

What are your thoughts about this flight passing through Saudi airspace? Are you glad that the conditions are improving? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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