A diplomatic argument between Qatar and its neighbors is currently threatening Qatar Airways operations:

Several countries have cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism in the Gulf region.

Neighbours including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have closed their airspace to Qatari planes.

I have a flight going to Pisa via Doha with Qatar Airways. If it's banned from using the Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi airspaces, then what will be its route?

Should I be worried about my flight?

  • My next Qatar Airways flight to Europe is on Thursday. Personally, I do not expect any problems.
    – Calchas
    Jun 6, 2017 at 14:08

2 Answers 2


At the moment, they can still 'escape' via Iran, like this picture from FlightRadar24 shows:

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and from there to Turkey and Europe. As Alexander notes, this is because they can still use the Bahrain airspace; Bahrain committed to the IASTA which forbids them to close the airspace to other members, like Qatar.

More information can be found here.

In any case, you should definitely pay attention to any information regarding your flight, and you can expect it to take a little longer because of the detour.

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  • 2
    Ah, that seems to be correct, but it isn't really clear from the picture above, which shows Bahrain and Qatar as one airspace region. Still: While the countries are free to refuse landing rights, it is unclear if Bahrain and the UAE can legally ban Qatar Airways from its airspace. As signatories to the International Air Services Transit Agreement, Bahrain the UAE can't legally shut off its airspace to fellow signatory Qatar.
    – Glorfindel
    Jun 6, 2017 at 11:36
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    Not legally, but illegally. Is there a court Qatar could drag them to?
    – Alexander
    Jun 6, 2017 at 11:43
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    That depends on whether they're willing to take the risk of being shot down. Jun 6, 2017 at 12:01
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    Does Bahrain actually own that airspace? The maps that are circulating around seem to be of FIRs (which is why some of them, including this one, show nothing for Qatar - others show the Doha TMA carved out of it), not territorial airspace. How does territorial airspace actually work over international waters? (the area in question is in Qatar's EEZ)
    – Random832
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:11

Based on the FlightAware site, many flights are unaffected, some (mostly flights to south Europe) will have to fly longer.


  1. Flights to east and north Europe fly over Iran and Turkey, and are unaffected.
  2. Flights to south Europe fly over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have blocked their airspace. They'll have to take a longer path, over Iran and Turkey.
  3. Flights to east Asia fly over the Persian Gulf and Iran and are unaffected.
  4. Flights to Africa fly over Saudi Arabia. They'll have to take a longer path, around the Arabian peninsula.
  5. Flights to Jordan fly over Saudi Arabia. They now take a longer path over Iraq (which is normally avoided by all carriers).

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