Garuda Indonesia is planning to accommodate stranded or potential passengers for Qatar Airways, following an unprecedented diplomatic dispute in the Middle East region.
The take-over comes in the wake of the Middle East political crisis which has seen Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the gulf country of destabilising the region by supporting Islamist terror groups. This includes blocking Qatar Airways from flying through airspaces.
“We are cooperating with Qatar Airways. Some of its passengers are booked for Jakarta-Saudi Arabia flights and will be accommodated by Garuda Indonesia” CEO Pahala N Mansyuri said.
Mansyuri said the take-over is also an opportunity for Garuda Indonesia to increase the umrah, or mini-Hajj, route market among existing customers.
Garuda Indonesia has prepared the technical needs for the take over, with the first flight to carry 45 passengers from Jakarta to Saudi Arabia and a second flight to cater for 150.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi has confirmed the Indonesian government will not revoke Qatar Airway’s flight license.
“We will just direct Indonesian umrah pilgrims originally booked with Qatar Airways to a different airline,” Sumadi said.
Sumadi suggested stranded pilgrims could also fly with Emirates, Etihad, Turkey and Saudi airlines, all of which are still able to fly as usual.
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