The opening of airspace with Arab countries after the Gulf reconciliation has reduced Qatar Airways' costs by about $1.2 billion, the company's CEO Akbar Al-Baker announced yesterday.
"The opening of the airspace with neighbouring countries will help reduce our operational costs through using the national carrier's aircraft for shorter flight routes," Al-Baker told official media.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar, accusing the latter of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies. The Arab countries ended the boycott on 5 January.
Al-Baker pointed out that the national carrier was still under "great pressure due to the coronavirus crisis."
"When the pandemic began to spread globally, passengers had started to demand refunds for their tickets, and we had returned nearly $1.6 billion to hundreds of thousands of travelers."
The official added that he was expecting the aviation sector "to return to the 2019 levels again in two or three years." "Aviation would need more time to regain its momentum, especially with an imminent third spike of coronavirus infections," Al-Baker said.