Will your flights be impacted by Qatar rift?
EMIRATES has assured Australian passengers that aside from its Qatar routes, its usual flights will not be disrupted as a diplomatic rift sparks air travel chaos across the Gulf region.
Emirates, Etihad, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Egypt Air and other Gulf carriers have announced they will no longer fly in and out of Qatar after Saudi Arabia and six other Arab states cut air, sea and land links to the increasingly isolated nation.
In turn, Qatar Airways announced on Tuesday it would suspend all flights to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain until further notice.
The flight suspensions will immediately impact passengers on busy air routes between the Qatari capital, Doha, and other Middle Eastern cities, such as Egypt, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Experts are also bracing for a flow-on effect to other Gulf-based operators, such as delays due to changes in airspace rules.
But a spokeswoman for Emirates told news.com.au there would be "no impacts" to the airline's other routes, such as those that connect Australia with Europe and Asia via Dubai.
Emirates said in a statement it would suspend only its flights to and from the Qatari capital of Doha from Tuesday, until further notice.
"All customers booked on Emirates' flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options, including full refunds on unused tickets and rebooking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations," the airline said.
news.com.au has contacted Etihad for comment, however the Abu Dhabi-based airline has similarly not indicated any changes to its other flight routes.
The diplomatic crisis in the Gulf will come as a blow to Doha, a major transport crossroads, as well as Qatar Airways, which has now been cut off from 20 airports in its region.
UK-based aviation consultant John Strickland told Al Jazeera the local travel disruptions were "unprecedented".
"There's been disruptions in the region before, such as during the Gulf War," he said. "Flights had to be re-routed, but I cannot think of anything comparable to the current events."
Australian aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas told The Australian passengers may see extended flight times as aircraft avoid airspace that is now out of bounds.
"This will be a very significant disrupter both in loss of air routes to these particular countries, but also because Qatar Airways would now have to fly around those countries rather than over them," Mr Thomas, editor of Airlineratings.com, said.
"Flights to Australia and Asia fly over the UAE and Qatar Airways will be denied access to fly their aircraft over that airspace. They'll have to do a significant diversion, which will add an hour, maybe more, to flight times. It will also significantly impact flight routes to other locations in the Middle East and such diversions might not be economically viable."
Qatar Airways flights to and from locations in the United States and Europe will be largely unaffected, the Wall Street Journal reports.
But Phil Slyvester, travel expert at Travel Insurance Direct, said the future of Qatar Airways - a major international player that flies more than 150 routes - may be shaky and it could affect travel insurance.
"All Qatar Airways flights to Europe go via Doha - that's the point of having a national airline," he told news.com.au.
"As long as the airspace restrictions don't stop them getting to their own country, those flights will continue, albeit they might take longer as Qatar Airways needs to reroute to avoid Saudi airspace. This won't impact your travel insurance policy."
The move by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and the Maldives to cut diplomatic relations with Qatar comes amid accusations the oil-rich nation supported terror groups in the region, which Qatar denies.