Qatar Airways has been granted permission to resume routing flights through the airspace of Saudi Arabia after a 3.5 year long political blockade was ended.
The airline had been banned from Saudi Arabia and some of Saudi’s allies, including the UAE, since June 2017. All Qatar Airways flights were forced to be routed around these countries, leading to significantly longer flight times on some routes.
On Tuesday, January 5th, it was first announced that the blockade would be lifted. However, flights were not immediately restarted.
Thursday evening, Qatar Airways announced that it has now restarted using Saudi Arabian airspace. The first flight to be routed via the country was flight QR1365 to Johannesburg, South Africa, according to the airline.
#QR1365 is the first @qatarairways flight to cross Saudi Arabian airspace following the lifting of the blockade that had been in place since June 2017. https://t.co/iDDZHxAhTG pic.twitter.com/Z7qqTMQeBR
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 7, 2021
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.