Hundreds of Kenyans stranded In Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have all closed their airspace to Qatar.

With the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and her neighbors showing no signs of abating, millions of passengers across the world are getting worried by the day.

In Africa Egypt and  Mauritania have also joined the band wagon and cut ties with Qatar as well.

Hundreds of Kenyans, working in the oil rich nation have been left wondering how they will get home after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE all closed their airspace to Qatar.

"Losing Saudi, Bahrain and UAE airspace would effectively ground Qatar Airways," the CAPA Center for Aviation wrote in a report.

"It is largely surrounded by Bahrain airspace (the Bahrain FIR), a slither on the south is managed by Saudi Arabia while the UAE is on the eastern border," CAPA said.

Losing access to Saudi airspace would force Qatar Airways into a costly maneuver of rerouting its Africa-bound flights.

That means, should the ban hold up, Qatar Airways flights would need to fly through airspace they are now barred from to reach their home base in Doha.

Qatar’s “booming economic growth” powerful by gas and oil attracted hundreds of Kenyans who are currently in Qatar working in different sectors with the hotel and restaurant businesses absorbing the most.

On Tuesday Kenya called a crisis meeting to discuss and chat way forward over Qatar tricky diplomatic spat.

Qatar also has a high number of Kenyan professional athletes who have switched nationalities but have families in Kenya and therefore should they want to travel back home it may pose a logistical nightmare.

Qatar airways normally conducts direct flights from Nairobi to Doha and so far the Airline has insisted there is no cause for alarm.

Tony Njoroge, a travel agent attached with Qatar Airways said the diplomatic crisis has not yet affected Kenyan flights to Qatar and the airline was operating as usual from Nairobi to Doha.

“We are operating as normal and anyone wishing to fly to Qatar can still do so”

Qatar Airways later announced it will be launching direct flights from Doha to Mombasa at the beginning of 2018 and it is not yet clear if it flights will go as planned or not.

So far the Airline has not released any information about new routes but Tony advised Kenyans and anyone wishing to fly to Qatar to keep a close eye on the Airline’s website for latest information on the same.


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