GCC borders reopen: Saudi Customs receives first arrivals from Qatar
The Saudi Customs at Salwa Port received its first arrivals from Qatar after the opening of airspace, land, sea and airports between the Kingdom and Doha. The borders were opened after the GCC nations (including UAE, Bahrain and Saudi) signed the new AlUla peace accord. This agreement will boost trade in the Gulf area and will facilitate more smoother supply chains, according to logistics experts.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced that UAE has officially opened its airports and airspace to Qatar, just a few days after the accord was signed at the GCC summit.
Khalid Abdullah Belhoul (Under-Secretary of UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation / MoFAIC), confirmed that all land, sea and air borders are now open to Qatar. This will pave the way for flights between Dubai and Doha – formerly one of the Middle East’s busiest routes.
Airlines announce flights
Qatar Airways and SAUDIA have also announced that they will resume flights between Saudi and Qatar. All flights will be operated by Qatar Airways’ wide-body aircraft, including Boeing 777-300s, Boeing 787-8s and Airbus A350s. Saudi’s flag carrier will resume flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha, with four scheduled weekly flights from Riyadh and three from Jeddah. Emirates and flydubai in the UAE are yet to announce flights between Doha and Dubai.
IATA welcomes the border opening
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), said it “welcomes” the signing of the agreement and opening of borders with Qatar. The organization stated that the agreement “paves the way for commercial airlines to resume regional connectivity.”
Muhammad Al Bakri (IATA’s regional VP for Africa and the Middle East) said that the opening of airspace and borders will eliminate “complex transit travel itineraries that saw typical journey times increase from under an hour to over five hours in some cases”.
“The agreement also opens the door for the establishment of quarantine-free travel corridors which will allow families and friends across the region to be able to reconnect and businesses trade more easily. And will facilitate the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines globally given the region’s strategic location,” Al Bakri said.