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Qatar Flight Lands In Saudi Arabia For The First Time In Three Years As Nations Restore Ties

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The first flight from Qatar has landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, three years after the Middle-Eastern kingdom cut diplomatic and trade ties with the country.

On June 5, 2017, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain, imposed a sea, land, and air blockade on Qatar, accusing the nation of supporting terrorism and for having too close ties with Iran. While Qatar denied the charges, diplomatic and transport links between the country and the Middle-Easter quartet remained severed for three years until the restrictions were finally lifted last-week in a trademark agreement to normalize ties.

At a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit on 5th January 2021, Saudi Arabia upon the intervention of outgoing US President Donald Trump agreed to lift restrictions on Qatar. It also reopened its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar.

Now, a week later, the first international flight from Doha has landed in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Qatar Airways resumed flight operations to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Monday, and they tweeted to merrily announce the redemption of air travel between the countries.

The airlines also confirmed that while flights to Riyadh have already been resumed, Qatar Airways operations in Jeddah and Dammam will start later this week. According to the airline’s timetable, the first flight to Riyadh took off from Doha’s Hammad Airport at 10:45 GMT and landed at Riyadh’s Ling Khalid approximately 12:10 GMT.

"We are very pleased with the positive outcome from the GCC Summit and the decision to reopen all borders with Qatar," said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways' group chief executive.

Bahrain and UAE have also opened their airspaces to Qatar, but it isn’t known when the first direct flights will take off.

Source: Gulf News