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Flights to Doha longer as Indian carriers skip UAE; take Pak, Iran routes

Flights from Mumbai and Kerala will also have to transit through these routes due torestrictions

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai 

Qatar Airways, Qatar-Saudi rift, flights to Doha
A Qatar Airways plane is seen in Doha, Qatar on Monday. (Photo: Reuters)

Fliers from will now spend an additional half hour on their to Doha, with the worsening crisis in the Persian Gulf prompting carriers to skip airspace over the  

Express, and operate between Indian cities and out of Delhi fly over and to reach the Qatari capital. Those from Mumbai and Kerala used to fly over and the These will now also fly over and

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing of supporting terrorism. They also suspended air, sea and land transport. 

The also asked all foreign airlines to obtain prior clearance to use its airspace for The situation worsened on Tuesday, with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia revoking the licence of to operate in their territory.

With tension high, airlines are preparing to deal with the crisis. 

“All scheduled to and from will operate on the alternative northern routes via Iran, avoiding the airspace,” said a spokesperson. “As a result, will be 10 to 40 minutes longer.”

He added the airline was planning to augment its crew to deal with the additional flying time.

Jet is also trying to get clearance from the General Authority (GCAA) of the to fly over the country. “Our schedules have been provided to the GCAA. Once approved, we will be able to resume operating on the normal routes,” the airline said.

Last year, around 1.6 million passengers travelled between and Doha, making it the fifth-busiest destination in the Gulf for travellers from here, after Dubai, Muscat, Kuwait and Jeddah. This figure does not include onward traffic.

flies to 14 cities in India; 70-80 per cent of its passengers travel onward.

Aviation sources said might drop fares to sustain its bookings. “Qatar relies on traffic from its neighbouring countries. Now, the airline will depend more on and other such nations to fill up its to Europe and the US.”

Air traffic to the Gulf is thin during Ramzan, but domestic airways have experienced an increase in booking. This is because those who had booked one-stop flights, through Dubai or Sharjah, are now buying tickets on other flights, a sector executive said.

First Published: Wed, June 07 2017. 09:50 IST