An Air Arabia Airbus A320 aircraft is seen taxiing at Qatar's Hamad International Airport on Monday. AFP
The first direct flights since 2017 between Qatar and the UAE and Egypt took to the skies on Monday, following the end of a regional crisis. The first commercial flight from Qatar to Egypt in three and a half years, an EgyptAir service to Cairo, took off from windswept Doha airport.
Worker of Hamad International Airport wait at the terminal near Doha. AFP
It was followed shortly after by the arrival of an Air Arabia flight from Sharjah in the UAE. On Thursday, Air Arabia had announced the resumption of directs flights between Sharjah and Doha.
Customers can now book their direct flights between Sharjah and Doha by visiting Air Arabia’s website, by calling the call centre or through travel agencies.
Mask-clad travellers walk with their carry-on luggage to board the first Qatar Airways flight bound for Cairo. AFP
Ensuring the highest standards of safety at every step of the journey by following all health and safety protocols, Air Arabia has also added to the convenience and confidence of passengers by introducing free COVID-19 insurance coverage.
The insurance is automatically included as part of the booking and no additional documents are required from passengers. The resumption of flights from Doha to Cairo will simplify travel for the large contingent of Egyptians living in Qatar.
Passengers disembark off the first Air Arabia flight landing at Hamad International Airport.
As many as 300,000 Egyptians call Qatar home, according to official statistics, but many were unable to travel home during the crisis. A Qatar Airways plane was due to also make the trip to Cairo later on Monday.
Flights between Doha and Saudi Arabia, which has also opened its land border to Qatar, resumed on Jan.11.
Mustafa Ahmed, 38, an Egyptian technical engineer, said he was "very happy." "With direct flights, life will be easier, especially for families and children, avoiding the torment of changing airports and planes and waiting for hours for transit flights," he said.
Egyptians in Qatar work in a number of sectors including education, healthcare and engineering.
Adel Al Ali, said, "Winning the Low-Cost Airline of the Year award in arguably the most challenging year for the aviation industry reiterates the hard work done by the team this year and is a testament to the strength of the low-cost business model in the region."
It is advised people over the age of 70 years not to travel, and it is advised for people with chronic diseases to avoid travelling in order to preserve their safety.
The authorities said the conditions and procedures would be announced later in light of the preventive and precautionary measures taken by the UAE to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Air Arabia customers can change their existing and new bookings made until March 31, 2020, for travel until Dec.31, 2020, up to 72 hours prior to departure. The airline said the offer is valid for travel from March 22, 2020, and is applicable to all fares including Etihad Guest redemptions and Etihad Holiday bookings.
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Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad for his congratulations and the sincere fraternal feelings he showed, wishing the brotherly State of Qatar and its people further progress and development.