Qatar Airways, Gulf Air Set For Qatar-Bahrain Return

Qatar Airways Airbus A320
Credit: NurPhoto SRL/Alamy Stock Photo

Qatar Airways and Gulf Air have scheduled the resumption of nonstop service between Qatar and Bahrain for the first time since the countries resolved a feud that dates back to June 2017.

The airlines will restart operations between Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) and Bahrain International Airport (BAH) on May 25, ending a nearly six-year absence of direct flights. The planned return comes just weeks after Qatar and Bahrain restored diplomatic ties.

Qatar Airways’ booking system shows the 50-min. flight will be offered daily using Airbus A320 aircraft. Until now, passengers booking through Qatar Airways only had the option of a one-stop service via Muscat operated by Oman Airlines, taking in excess of 7 hr.

Gulf Air has also placed tickets for the BAH-DOH service on sale, with daily flights departing Bahrain at 9.30 a.m. and returning from Doha at 11.15 a.m. 

The restoration of the 146-km (79-nm) route follows a decision by leaders in Qatar and Bahrain to end a long-running diplomatic feud and reestablish relations.

Bahrain in 2017 joined Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in imposing a diplomatic blockade on Qatar. The four countries accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region—an accusation vehemently rejected by Qatar.

The Saudi-led coalition presented Qatar with 13 demands as conditions for ending the embargo, including reducing diplomatic relations with Iran and closing news organization Al-Jazeera. However, Qatar refused to comply, plunging the region into crisis.

Although the crisis came to an end in 2021 under the Al Ula Declaration, Bahrain is the last of the four countries to renew ties with Qatar. A reconciliation agreement was reached in April through talks at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) headquarters in Saudi Arabia.

“The two sides affirmed that this step stems from the mutual desire to develop bilateral relations and enhance the Gulf unity and integration according to the GCC Charter and in respect of the principles of equality between states, national sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity and good neighborliness,” a statement from Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at the time.

Prior to the blockade in 2017, Qatar Airways served the Doha-Bahrain market up to seven times per day, while Gulf Air provided up to six daily flights. In total, the two carriers offered more than 28,000 two-way weekly seats between the destinations, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.