As Etihad Suspends Service, Qatar Marches On

As Etihad Airways becomes the second Middle Eastern airline to suspend service, joining Emirates, the third Gulf carrier marches on.

Etihad announced Monday it is temporarily suspending transit travel through its main hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Any passengers booked on connecting flights via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on the Etihad network will not be permitted to travel.

Etihad is attempting to contact these guests to advise them of the development.

For now, only citizens of the United Arab Emirates, their immediate family members, diplomatic passport holders, and those with UAE-API (Advance Passenger Information) clearance will be allowed entry into Abu Dhabi.

The temporary suspension begins Wednesday, March 25, for an initial period of 14 days.

In the meantime, Qatar Airways said it will “remain committed to its passengers.”

“We appreciate this is a difficult time and that many people around the world are trying to find a way to get home. At Qatar Airways we continue to operate more than 150 flights per day so that as many people as possible can get home safely to their loved ones,” Qatar said in a statement. “As of 24 March, we are operating services to over 70 cities worldwide. We are constantly reviewing our operations to see where there is more demand and requests, and wherever possible we will add more flights or bigger aircraft. This is a challenging time for the aviation industry and we are thankful to airports and authorities and their staff around the world for their incredible efforts to help us get passengers home.”

Qatar has also amended its ‘Travel with Confidence’ and flight disruption policies. Customers who choose to receive a travel voucher for future use will receive the full unutilized value of their ticket plus an additional 10 percent of the fare cost as an added value offer.

Customers also have the option for a refund back to the form of payment they used when purchasing their tickets (which can take up to 30 days to process).

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