UAE - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the signing of the ‘solidarity and stability’ agreement that will see Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt open their air, land and sea borders with Qatar.

The agreement paves the way for commercial airlines to resume regional connectivity — which will shorten flight times and provide essential air links to families and businesses across the region.

“The reopening of airspace with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt is welcome news for the region, passengers and the aviation industry during these very difficult times,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East. "It will permit the resumption of direct flights between these countries and Qatar, eliminating complex transit travel itineraries that saw typical journey times increase from under an hour to over five hours in some cases."

Al Bakri added that the agreement also opens the door for the establishment of quarantine-free travel corridors that will allow families and friends across the region to be able to reconnect and businesses trade more easily. "This will also facilitate the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines globally, given the region’s strategic location," he said.

An Etihad Airways spokesperson also welcomed the restoration of diplomatic ties between the UAE and Qatar. "As the airspace reopens, Etihad looks forward to recommencing services between Abu Dhabi and Doha and once again, supporting growth of trade and tourism between the two nations. Etihad will announce any developments when confirmed."

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