Major Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), decided to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, citing terrorism concerns. Qatar is now cut off from these countries which include land, air and water access to the region, concerning thousands across the world.
The rift, however, will not affect flight operations between India and Doha for now. The travel time to reach the country is although likely to increase with countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia curing their airspace for flights from Qatar.
The UAE, Yemen and Egypt announced that they will be joining Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and will be withdrawing their diplomatic staff from Qatar. The nations on Monday said that their decision was based on the claims that Qatar supported Islamist groups and associated with terrorism
The operations head of an Indian airline said that the UAE has told Indian carriers that their aircraft flying or crossing "its airspace on India-Doha route must take its permission before doing so."
"If they allow, it is okay. Otherwise, flights from places other than North India like Mumbai and the south will have to take a much longer route: fly north over the Arabian Sea, enter Iran and then fly straight over the Persian Gulf to Doha. The same route will have to be taken on return if the UAE denies permission," the official said, according to Times of India reports.
Reports state that the rift between the Gulf countries will affect all the Qatar Airways flights between India and Doha. There are three Indian carriers -- Jet Airways, Al Express and IndiGo -- which fly between India and Doha. Flights departing from New Delhi, however, will not be affected as they will fly over Pakistan and then enter Iran.
Direct route of flights between Doha, Europe and North America may have to be changed, which could lead to an increase in the flying time.
Flights between the West and Doha will have to take a longer route through Iran with UAE banning Qatari-registered planes from its airspace. More travel time would also mean higher flight prices.
"Flying more will mean fuelling more, which in turn will lead to fares going up," said an official.