Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates is being restored to Qatar Airways’ network after a four-year absence.
The airline last served the emirate in June 2017—prior to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severing diplomatic relations with Qatar. However, the oneworld alliance member will return to the destination in July, seven months after the blockade was lifted.
Service between Doha (DOH) and Sharjah (SHJ) will resume on July 1, operating once per day using Boeing 787 aircraft. Flight QR1036 will depart DOH at 2.35 p.m., arriving in SHJ at 4.45 p.m. The return leg departs at 5.55 p.m. and returns to Doha at 6.05 p.m.
Since the restoration of diplomatic ties, Sharjah becomes the third destination in the UAE to be reinstated alongside Dubai International (DXB) and Abu Dhabi (AUH). DXB returned to the airline’s network on Jan. 27 with double-daily flights, with a 1X-daily AUH service starting a day later.
Prior to the blockade, Qatar Airways served five points within the UAE, flying to Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC) and Ras al Khaimah (RKT), in addition to SHJ, DXB and AUH.
For w/c May 22, 2017, shortly before the blockade began, the carrier offered 115X-weekly flights to DXB, 42 to AUH, 23 to DWC, 11 to SHJ and four to RKT. In total, the airline offered almost 75,500 two-way weekly seats on Qatar-UAE routes, accounting for about 7.3% of its worldwide capacity.
The UAE was also Qatar Airways’ largest market by weekly flight frequencies. About 8.8% of all departing flights from DOH were bound for destinations in the country.
The latest OAG data shows that the carrier plans to offer about 14,500 two-way weekly seats on Qatar-UAE routes by early July 2021. This represents about 2.3% of overall capacity.
Competition on DOH-SHJ will be provided by Air Arabia, which serves the route 1X-daily. Flydubai also flies DOH-DXB 2X-daily, while Etihad Airways offers a 2X-weekly DOH-AUH flight.
The blockade started in June 2017 when the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region—an accusation vehemently rejected by Qatar.
As part of the blockade, the four countries restricted airspace for all Qatari-registered aircraft. This had major consequences for Qatar Airways, which was forced to drop 18 destinations in from its network.
Photo credit: Qatar Airways