Diplomatic Crisis Disrupts Travel Into Qatar

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Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all announced Monday that they will cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, and that they would cut air and sea traffic to the country, The Daily Telegraph reports. The move has led to a number of flight cancellations from air carriers in the Middle East.

Etihad Airways has announced it will suspend all flights into Doha, Qatar, starting this evening, with the last flight departing Abu Dhabi at 9:35 p.m. and the last flight arriving from Doha at 10:50 p.m. (all times local). Customers booked on Etihad flights to and from Doha are being provided with alternate options, including full refunds on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Etihad destination, the airline said. 

Emirates has announced that it will suspend all flights to and from Doha starting the morning of June 6. The airline said it will provide customers full refunds on unused tickets or rebooking to alternate destinations.

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Qatar Airways will suspend all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until further notice, providing its customers the option of a full refund on any unused tickets or a free rebooking to the nearest alternative destination.

CNN reports that the crisis comes two weeks after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt blocked several Qatar-based media outlets following comments allegedly made by Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Hamad Al Thani hailing Iran as an “Islamic power” and criticizing President Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran. Qatar claims that the website was hacked and the report faked. Monday, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency said the move to cut ties was to “protect national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism.”

According to Bloomberg, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the United States is willing to help defuse the situation. The five key countries in the dispute are U.S. allies.

“What we’re seeing is a growing list of some irritants in the region that have been there for some time,” Tillerson told Bloomberg. “Obviously they’ve now bubbled up to a level that countries decided they needed to take action in an effort to have those differences addressed.”

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates to this developing story.

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