Fliers from India
will now spend an additional half hour on their flights
to Doha, with the worsening crisis in the Persian Gulf prompting carriers to skip airspace over the UAE.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing Doha
of supporting terrorism. They also suspended air, sea and land transport.
also asked all foreign airlines to obtain prior clearance to use its airspace for Doha flights.
The situation worsened on Tuesday, with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia revoking the licence of Qatar Airways
to operate in their territory.
With tension high, India
airlines are preparing to deal with the crisis.
“All scheduled flights
to and from Doha
will operate on the alternative northern routes via Iran, avoiding the UAE
airspace,” said a Jet Airways
spokesperson. “As a result, flights
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 Civil Aviation
Authority (GCAA) of the UAE
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 India
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 Qatar Airways
might drop fares to sustain its bookings. “Qatar relies on traffic from its neighbouring countries. Now, the airline will depend more on India
and other such nations to fill up its flights
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.