By: Peter Alagos
*UAE updates its Notices to Airmen on lifting airspace ban on Qatar
National carrier Qatar Airways will fly for the first time since June 2017 to Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Monday.
In a tweet on Friday, aviation analyst Alex Macheras said: “Breaking: Qatar’s first commercial airline flight to Saudi Arabia - following the end of the three-and-a-half-year blockade - is set for next week, on Monday afternoon.”
Macheras also tweeted that the airline will utilise its “Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner” for the flight, and that the “Usual #COVID19 entry policies & restrictions will apply.”
According to the tweet, flight QR1164 will depart from Hamad International Airport (HIA) on January 11 at 2.05pm and will arrive after almost one and a half hours later at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.
Similarly, Macheras also tweeted that the UAE has updated its Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) on the lifting of airspace ban on Qatar.
“Breaking: United Arab Emirates officially updates its NOTAMs to remove its airspace ban on Qatar, which lasted 3.5 years — (following Saudi Arabia, who removed the ban on Friday). #Qatar,” the tweet announced.
According to the US Federal Aviation Administration website, a NOTAM "is a notice containing information (not known sufficiently in advance to publicise by other means) concerning the establishment, condition, or change in any component (facility, service, or procedure of, or hazard in the National Airspace System) the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations."
Qatar Airways has 30 Boeing 787s in its fleet and “are the ideal choice for the most strategically important long-haul routes to Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions,” according to the QA website.
“The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an environmentally-advanced aircraft. It consumes 20% less fuel and its carbon dioxide emissions are 20% lower than other similar aircraft. The Dreamliner also produces less noise, thanks to its technologically advanced engines, making it quieter for airport communities,” the website added.
The resumption of Qatar Airways direct flights to Saudi Arabia is seen as one of the immediate results of the “solidarity and stability” agreement signed by Gulf leaders during the 41st GCC Council held last Tuesday in the city of Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia.
On the eve of the summit, it was announced that the Abu Samra border, Qatar’s only land border to the Kingdom, will be opened, including Saudi Arabia’s sea border and airspace.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who led the Qatari delegation attending the summit, was received with a warm hug by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman upon arrival at the airport.