EgyptAir to operate daily flight to Doha after the lifting of airspace ban on Qatar

Mohamed Soliman , Wednesday 13 Jan 2021

The flight's operation date is due to be announced soon

EgyptAir airplane (Photo: EgyptAir Website)
EgyptAir airplane (Photo: EgyptAir Website)

EgyptAir announced on Tuesday evening plans to operate a daily flight to the Qatari capital Doha, a day after Egypt lifted a three-and-half-year airspace ban on the Gulf country.

The national flagship carrier may operate a second flight to Doha if demand increases, according to an official statement by Roshday Zakri, the chairman and CEO of EGYPTAIR holding company.

The flight's operation date is due to be announced once the permits necessary for operation between both countries' civil aviation authorities are completed, the statement added.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Head of Egypt's Civil Aviation Authority Ashraf Noweir announced the resumption of direct flights between Cairo and Doha.

In June 2020, the country's Emigration Minister Nabila Makram said there are roughly 70,000 Egyptian nationals in Qatar according to official records, but that the real number probably exceeds 300,000.

Last year, Egypt operated repatriation flights -- through Oman’s capital Muscat -- to bring home a number of nationals who were stranded in Qatar over the halt of the international flights due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Egyptian decision to lift the airspace ban on Qatar comes a week after Egypt signed the Al-Ula agreement for Arab reconciliation with Qatar, which ended a diplomatic and travel boycott by the Arab Quartet - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain - on Doha.

The agreement was inked last week by the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at their summit in Saudi Arabia, after intense Kuwaiti and US efforts to mend fences between the quartet and Doha.

The quartet cut diplomatic, economic and travel ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of interfering in their internal affairs and supporting terrorist groups, charges denied by Qatar.

Saudi Arabia had restored full ties with Qatar and reopened its airspace to Doha last Monday.

The United Arab Emirates reopened all its land, sea and air entry points with Qatar on Saturday.

Bahrain also reopened its airspace to Doha on Monday.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Shoukry stressed after the signing of the agreement the need to build on this step of reconciliation with Qatar to enhance joint Arab work and relations.

Shoukry said that these relations should be based on goodwill and non-interference in the Arab countries’ domestic affairs.

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