Saudi Arabian Airlines — Saudia — announced on Sunday that its aircraft could not carry Qatari pilgrims to Jeddah because they did not have permission to land at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, agencies have reported. The Qatari authorities did not comment on this matter until Sunday evening.
According to the Director of Saudia, the required permission to land in Doha was still awaited days after filing the relevant application documents. “After the directive was issued by King Salman that Qatari pilgrims would be allowed into the Kingdom,” explained Saleh Al-Jasser, “the airline contacted the Qatari authorities to get landing permission.”
Earlier, Riyadh had announced that it put conditions on accepting the pilgrims from Qatar, one of which was that they only travel by air, and not overland. However, King Salman announced on 16 August that they would be allowed to travel through Salwa border crossing without electronic permits or by any airline except Qatar Airways.
Doha welcomed this measure, but said that it had “political” and other contexts.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt announced a ground, sea and air blockade of Qatar on 5 June over claims that the government in Doha supports terrorism. Qatar continues to deny the allegation.