Qatar and the UAE has reopened its airspace and land borders for travel.
10 January 2021| Last updated on 12 January 2021
The borders reopened on Saturday January 9, 2021.
After more than three years since the blockade, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates has reopened their borders, making the UAE the first of of several boycotting countries to redo ties with Qatar.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE closed their air, land and sea borders with Qatar in June 2017, with bans placed on travel and business.
According to Khalid Abdullah Belhoul, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the UAE "will work to reopen all land, sea and air borders to incoming and outgoing" traffic from Qatar (WAM.ae).
The lifting of restrictions took effect on Saturday, January 9.
The reopening of the air borders will significantly reduce passengers' travel time between Qatar and the UAE. Before the ban, direct flights between the two countries usually took an hour. Following the boycott, a transit journey from the UAE to Qatar by way of Jordan or Oman can take up to five hours.
Muhammad Al Bakri, spokesperson for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said: "The reopening of airspace with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt is welcome news for the region, passengers and the aviation industry during these very difficult times.
"It will permit the resumption of direct flights between these countries and Qatar, eliminating complex transit travel itineraries (...) The agreement will facilitate the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines globally given the region’s strategic location," he added.
Saudi Arabia ends three-year restrictions with Qatar
Saudi Arabia also reopened its airspace, as well as land and sea borders with Qatar on Monday, allowing transport vehicles for the first time since the three-year diplomatic dispute.
All arriving passengers into Qatar must show a negative Covid-19 test, then take a new test at the border and quarantine for one week in one of a number of selected hotels, said the Qatar News Agency.
Although travel has resumed between Qatar and the other two GCC countries, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said it may take time to re-establish full diplomatic relations with Qatar.