qatar airlines

Qatar Airways lifts ban on SA passengers. Image: Adobe Stock

Flying with Qatar Airways just got a whole lot faster

The airline will soon be able to offer quicker flights and connections to passengers flying to and from Johannesburg.

qatar airlines

Qatar Airways lifts ban on SA passengers. Image: Adobe Stock

Qatar Airways is a firm favourite among South Africans, having entrenched itself in the South African aviation arena. While it provides a superior onboard passenger experience, Qatar Airways also offers South Africans some of the best airfares to many destinations served in its route network.      

The award-winning airline was banned from flying over neighbouring Arab states for well over three years in a blockade which forced it to fly indirect routes for almost all of its flights. The duration of Qatar’s flights on the Johannesburg to Doha route increased by about 40 minutes due to route diversions.


In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt accused neighbouring Qatar of supporting terrorism and having “close” ties with Iran. As a result, these countries severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, and implemented a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar.


The blockade meant Qatar Airways had to adjust its flight schedules, increasing flying times for almost all flights in its route network. This forced it to make lengthy diversions when flying to and from its base in Doha.

Instead of following a direct flightpath on all routes to and from Doha, Qatar Airways had to avoid flying over neighbouring countries. This resulted in the airline incurring extra fuel costs, additional flying hours, increased labour costs and unnecessary CO2 emissions for more than three years.


The three-year impasse between Qatar and its neighbours is set to end soon. quotes Reuters as saying a US official who spoke anonymously had confirmed an agreement to this effect would be signed in Saudi Arabia on 5 January.


Qatar Airways has also announced it was awarded the 2021 Airline Passenger Experience Association’s (Apex) Five Star Global Official Airline Rating Award again. The Apex awards ceremony was held during Apex’s virtual expo on 9 December 2020.

Qatar Airways group CEO Akbar Al Baker said:

“We are thrilled to have been awarded the 2021 Five Star Global Official Airline Rating and we extend our sincere thanks to our many loyal passengers who have voted for us.

To have been recognised as a five-star global airline yet again is a tremendous achievement for Qatar Airways, and is proof of the great heights to which we have soared during the past year.”