Qatar Airways has officially returned to Egypt after two-and-a-half years. The airline operated its first flight from Doha to Cairo yesterday, landing at 17:40 local time. Qatar’s second route to Alexandria will resume next week. The resumption will be a boon for Qatar Airways and passengers alike, increasing traffic and cutting down flight time.
Qatar Airways first suspended flights to Egypt in mid-2017, following the diplomatic fallout and blockade from its neighbors. After years of ongoing tensions, the four Gulf states officially lifted the blockade in early January, clearing the way for airlines to resume flight services and access to each other’s airspace.
Yesterday, on January 18th, Qatar Airways officially celebrated its first flight from Qatar to Egypt since 2017. Qatar Airways flight QR1301 departed Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 15:15 local time. The service will operate once daily at the same time.
The flight took a fairly straightforward path, briefly flying over Bahrain and remaining in Saudi Arabian airspace for the rest of the flight. However, a path like this would have been unimaginable a fortnight ago, requiring a much longer flight time.
The journey took 3 hours and 18 minutes in total, arriving in Cairo at 17:42 local time. The route was operated using one of Qatar’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. Registered A7-BCZ, the aircraft was delivered new to Qatar in February 2016 and is now five years old, according to Planespotters.net.
The 787 is Qatar’s smaller widebody aircraft, seating 254 passengers in a two-class configuration of 22 business and 232 economy seats. The smaller Dreamliner has been critical to the airline’s operations in 2020, allowing it to maintain essential air and cargo links to long-haul destinations at the height of the pandemic.
— Qatar Airways (@qatarairways) January 18, 2021
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Along with Qatar Airways, EgyptAir also resumed flights between Doha and Cairo yesterday. The carrier operated the route using a Boeing 737-800, leaving Cairo at 09:10 AM and reaching Doha at 12:35 PM local time, according to FlightRadar24.com. Qatar Airways will also start its second route from Doha to Alexandria on January 25th.
Egypt is the second country Qatar Airways has resumed flights to following the end of the blockade, after Saudi Arabia. For airlines and passengers in the region, the return to normalcy will be a huge boon for several reasons.
One major benefit for Qatar Airways will be shorter flight times since the airline can now fly over Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt again. The ban previously forced Qatar to take more circuitous routes when flying west, adding up to an hour to its flights to Africa and other destinations.
For passengers, flying between Qatar and other countries will be much shorter with direct flights. Popular routes like Dubai, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi to Doha will shortly be returning as well, offering passengers a lot more choice. Previously, flying between these countries required lengthy connecting flights.
The coming months will see many more such routes resume, kicking off a return to aviation normalcy in the region.
What do you think about Qatar’s return to Egypt? Let us know in the comments!