Following the lifting of a three-and-a-half-year-old embargo against Qatar, Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad Int'l) has outlined plans to resume flights to Saudi Arabia having earlier resumed flights through its airspace.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates announced reopening their respective borders and airspaces to Qatari-flagged aircraft for the first time since June 2017.

In terms of flight paths, the Qatari carrier has now resumed flights through Saudi and Emirati airspace but has only confirmed the resumption of flights to Saudi Arabia. Bahrain reopened its airspace to Qatari traffic on January 11. The private Egyptian newspaper, Al-Shorouk, quoted sources as saying that the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation had received a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday regarding the reopening of Egyptian airspace to Qatar, and allowing flights between the two countries. The sources suggested the decision could take effect from 0000L on Tuesday, January 12, with the first EgyptAir (MS, Cairo Int'l) flights to resume later in the week.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said flights to Riyadh would start on Monday, January 11, 2021, followed by Jeddah on Thursday, January 14, and Dammam on Saturday, January 16. Before the blockade, the Saudi market accounted for almost 20% of Qatar Airways' total weekly seating capacity.

In turn, Saudia (SV, Jeddah) said it would resume flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Doha from Monday, January 11, onwards.

No Emirati, Egyptian, or Bahraini carrier has yet announced their own flights to Doha while Qatar Airways has yet to announce plans to resume service to any of those three states.

In a related development, Emirates (EK, Dubai Int'l) has begun transiting Israeli airspace for the first time since Israel and the UAE announced full diplomatic ties. News reports corroborated by Flightradar24 ADS-B data show that on January 8, EK109/110 Larnaca-Dubai Int'l and vice versa passed through the Tel Aviv FIR on both the inbound and outbound sectors. However, subsequent flights have avoided Israel in favour of Egyptian-controlled Sinai airspace.

Emirates was not immediately available for comment.