Qatar Airways to launch flights to Saudi Arabia as Gulf blockade ends

Just a week ago, the Gulf Blockade came to an end, as suddenly as it was put in place. Qatar Airways, a couple of days after the blockade got over started to use the Saudi Arabian airspace, to be followed by the UAE airspace as they put in place NOTAMs to this effect.

But that is not just the intended use for Qatar Airways of this opportunity. The airline is working quickly to restore its network in the region. For one, Qatar Airways would like to hire back anyone who they had to let go in these countries to restore operations.

Qatar Airways also announced the resumption of flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with effect from January 11, 2021.

Qatar Airways intends to resume flights to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam in Saudi Arabia with widebody aircraft later this week. The flights are up on sale as per the following schedule.

  • January 11, 2021, onwards Qatar Airways will offer 1x daily flights between Doha and Riyadh using 777-300ERs.
  • January 14, 2021, onwards Qatar Airways will offer 4x weekly flights between Doha and Jeddah using A350-1000s
  • January 18, 2021, onwards Qatar Airways will offer daily flights between Doha and Dammam using 777-300ERs.

It is important to remember that UAE was the largest market by seat capacity for Qatar Airways, and Saudi Arabia was the second-largest, as per OAG Aviation, so once this happens, it will be good for the airline. Pre-2017, Qatar Airways used to offer connectivity in 10 stations in Saudi Arabia.

All these flights appear to have the QSuites on the planes. However, they will be sold as regional first class and not business class, as they are usually sold.

Bottomline

The speed surprised me. However, Qatar Airways is quick to enter Saudi Arabia again with flights to three destinations within a week. I’d expect flights to more stations in Saudi Arabia shortly as well. While not too many people may be travelling at the moment, Cargo is expected to have a role to play in this situation as well.

What do you make of Qatar Airways resuming flights to Saudi Arabia so quickly?


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