According to CNN, six countries have cut ties with Qatar, and three of the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have severed relations with one of the richest states in the region.
Major airlines have suspended travel to and from Qatar amid this diplomatic rift. The rift has wreaked havoc with airlines in the region, with major long-haul carriers such as Doha-based Qatar Airways and Dubai's Emirates suspending flights, leaving many passengers stranded at airports in the Gulf.
For more on regional travel, read this.
Sebastien Besson at InTouch Relocation suggests that:
Even though it is difficult to predict the future developments of this political situation, here is how it might impact our customers, as of right now:
- For expatriates living outside Qatar:
- If a flight has been booked through Qatar Airways to travel to any of the six above mentioned countries, chances are that it will be cancelled. Many UAE expats are using Qatar Airways and transiting through Doha as it represents a great alternative to Emirates or Etihad Airlines. This happens at a very busy time in the region with many families traveling back home for the summer.
- All business-related traveling between the UAE and Doha will be suspended. Many businesses have employees commuting on a regular basis to or from Doha to other GCC countries.
- Qatari expats residing in one of these countries has 14 days to leave the country.
- For Qatar residents:
- Limitation of travel options as all Middle East airlines have cancelled their Doha bound flights and all flights having to use a route above Iran to avoid closed airspace. This happens at a very busy time in the region with many families traveling back home for the summer.
- Potential food shortage as Qatar’s only land border is now closed.
Even though there is no significant risk for expatriates in the region at the moment, including those in Qatar, it is difficult to predict how the situation will develop and how the logistic challenges will potentially impact traveling plans of our customers.
Like Bahrain, Qatar is a former British protectorate, gaining full independence in 1971. From the 1950s onward, the country began to transform itself through its oil and natural gas resources, and since a bloodless coup in 1995, and subsequent political reform, has directed much of this wealth into diversified investment. Now just over half of its gross domestic product comes from non-fossil fuel sources. Former ruler Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who overthrew his father, peacefully transferred power to his son, Emir Tamim bin Hamad, in 2013, who, until recently, oversaw improving relations with regional neighbors, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.