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UAE closes airspace to all Qatar flights as GCC crisis escalates

The website of Qatar Airways has also been blocked by the UAE. [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 June, 2017

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The UAE banned all international flights serving Doha from passing through its airspace, as an ongoing diplomatic crisis between Gulf states escalates.

The UAE banned banned all international flights serving Doha from flying through its airspace, escalating an ongoing diplomatic crisis between Gulf states.

The UAE's airspace will be closed to all planes flying to or from Doha until further notice, the General Civil Aviation Authority said.

The website of Qatar Airways has also been blocked by the UAE's telecommunications authority.

The UAE also announced this week that Qataris have been banned from entering the country through land border crossings.

The latest move expands on an earlier ban on Qatari nationals from boarding flights into the UAE, as well as direct flights between the two countries and travel restrictions on Qatari passport holders and other citizens with residence permits from the Gulf state.

The move came after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt along with other Arab and Muslims countries cut off diplomatic ties and transport links to Qatar on Monday.

It comes after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi accused Qatar of supporting extremist groups - an allegation Qatar vehemently denies.

The closure of airspace and sea traffic to the gas-rich state has severally affected Qatar Airways, one of the region's busiest carriers.

Six airlines owned by Gulf nations or their allies have cancelled flights to Qatar in the wake of the diplomatic row.

Morocco's Royal Air Maroc has also cancelled flights via Doha to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have revoked the operating licence of Qatar Airways and ordered the airline's offices to close within 48 hours.

Vast stretches of regional airspace have been closed to Qatari aircraft, posing a predicament for travellers looking to leave Doha.

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