NEW DELHI: India has asked two domestic carriers to run extra flights to Doha ahead of the Eid holiday to help citizens stranded there following an embargo imposed on Qatar Airways.
Tens of thousands of Indian migrants travel home from Doha for the religious holiday every year, but many have been struggling to book tickets since three Gulf states barred Qatar’s national carrier from using their airspace earlier this month.
India’s civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said the government had asked state-owned Air India and commercial carrier Jet Airways to run extra flights to and from Doha between June 22 and July 8.
“We’ll operate additional flights… for our citizens not able to get tickets at Doha,” Raju wrote on Twitter, adding he was liaising with India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj.
“All steps necessary for timely movement of our citizens from Doha will be ensured.”
A senior Indian foreign ministry official told AFP that extra commercial flights were being run to “facilitate movement of those who wish to travel to India but cannot do that via Qatar’s neighbouring countries”.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates announced a severing of ties with Qatar over Doha’s alleged support for extremist groups and Iran. Qatar denies all the allegations. The diplomatic rift closed airspace over the three Gulf states to airlines from Qatar or registered there, disrupting normal routes.