Qatar denies blocking Saudi pilgrimage flights
Qatar denied it had banned Saudi Arabian flights from landing in the emirate to transport Muslim pilgrims to Makkah, after an accusation by authorities in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabian Airlines on Sunday said Qatari authorities had refused to grant a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, scheduled to transport Qatari hajj pilgrims, permission to land at Hamad International Airport. The flight is one of a select few that will allow Qataris to land in Saudi Arabia, which last week temporarily opened its borders to pilgrims to the Saudi city of Makkah, the most revered site in Islam, more than two months into a diplomatic crisis that has seen Riyadh cut all ties with Qatar and ban its citizens from entering.
An official source in the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority on Monday “described as baseless the news… that allegedly claimed that the state of Qatar refused to allow Saudi Airlines to transport the Qatari pilgrims,” according to a report carried on the state-run QNA news agency.
Qatar’s civil aviation authority confirmed that it had received a request from the Saudi carrier for permission to land and had referred the airline to the ministry of Islamic affairs “in accordance with past practices”.
Qatar has denied the allegations. Saudi Arabia last month said Qatari pilgrims would be allowed to enter the kingdom for this year’s hajj but imposed several travel restrictions, including flying in only on airlines approved by Riyadh, Express Tribune reported.