In a recent spate of events, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and Yemen have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, with the accusation that Doha is supporting terrorism. These countries have also suspended air, sea, and land transport that may have connection in and out of Doha.
The UAE has asked all foreign airlines to obtain permission prior to using its airspace to operate flights in and out of Doha. The situation worsened with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain cancelling the license of Qatar Airways to fly in their airspace.
Indian Carriers Operate over Alternative Routes, Augment Crew Size in Current Situation
Indian carriers are facing the brunt of the situation as well. Air India Express, Jet Airways, and IndiGo have scheduled flights between Doha and Indian cities. In the normal course, flights from Mumbai and Kerala to Doha fly over Oman and UAE. However, in the current situation in the Persian Gulf, they will need to fly over Pakistan and Iran same as the ones from Delhi do. This will mean fliers from India will need to spend an additional half an hour to fly to Doha with carriers avoiding airspace over the UAE.
With tension high, Indian carriers are preparing to deal with the situation. As such, scheduled flights between Indian cities and Doha will fly on the alternative northern routes over the airspace in Iran increasing the flight time from 10 to 40 minutes. Airlines are also augmenting their crew as the flying time is going to increase. In this regard, some India airlines are seeking clearance from the General Civil Authority of the UAE to use its airspace. On receiving approval, these carriers will be able to operate on normal routes.