A quartet of countries comprising the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Egypt imposed a crippling blockade on Qatar in 2017. The dispute finally came to an end today and this will offer significant benefits to UK travellers.
Whilst it may not appear obvious as to how a dispute between these countries will benefit UK travellers, the impact on the UK travel impact has actually had consequences. Firstly, Qatar Airways flew multiple daily flights to over 13 destinations in Saudi Arabia which was its most important market in the Gulf. With the number of domestic airports served, Qatar Airways had become the airline of choice amongst Saudis looking to fly to the Far East, Indian Ocean and Africa. The collapse in Saudi traffic inevitably impacted on the frequency of flights Qatar could operate to popular long haul tourist destinations without the Saudi volume feeding those flights. This of course meant less flights and increased prices for UK travellers going to the Far East, Africa and the Indian Ocean.
In addition, the ban on flying over Saudi and UAE airspace meant that the airline had to fly a convoluted route around the Gulf of Oman when operating its flights to Zanzibar, Mombasa, South Africa and Namibia. The restrictions added between 60 and 90 minutes to the flight time and considerably more to the fuel bill. Reducing flight times will reduce fuel costs which will reduce prices.
Qatar Airways also flew in Ras Al Khaima which was a popular route for UK holiday makers who wanted to benefit from the same luxury hotels synonymous with Dubai at the lower cost on offer in the northern most Emirate. Flight in to Ras Al Khaima meant travellers were able to transit in Doha for 50 minutes before connecting to Ras Al Khaima airport where they would be much closer to their resort that having to travel by road from Dubai.
Qatar Airways has always offered the best quality of service, cuisine and hard product amongst the Gulf airlines- all of which provide a far superior offering to their western counterparts. In addition to being the leading Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways was also known to offer the best value fares from the UK amongst the Gulf airlines. This forced its competitors to keep their prices low as well. With Qatar forced to raise prices following the blockade, the other Gulf airlines were able to profit by having lower operating costs and charging higher fares.
Qatar Airways is now back and we are confident it will be back with a vengeance! This will mean more choice and better fares for UK travellers on long haul routes.
Book by: Oct 30th 2021
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
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