LONDON: As The UK has added Qatar to its read list for travel besides adding Ethiopia, Oman, and Somalia, from an aviation perspective, this action has the biggest implications here are for Qatar Airways, given how big the carrier’s network is in the UK. The travel ban implemented at 4 AM on Friday, March 19, 2021
British, Irish, and third-country nationals with residence rights who are arriving from or who have transited these countries in the past 10 days will have to quarantine in a government facility for 10 days; all others will be refused entry. Even those who have just transited Doha will be banned.
There are around three dozen countries on the UK’s “red list,” which is primarily based on the risk of the importation of different strains of coronavirus. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been on the list for several weeks.
The airline could still operate cargo flights between Qatar and the UK, as the ban is specific to passengers.
The airline could operate flights from Qatar to the UK without passengers, and then operate flights from the UK to Qatar with passengers, since the ban is specifically on entry to the UK; this is what Emirates has done, as the airline has continued operating flights to the UK, but the UK-bound flights just don’t have any passengers on board.
A vast majority of Qatar Airways passengers are only briefly transiting in Doha, given that Qatar’s borders are closed, so is it really logical to ban passengers based on where they’ve briefly transited, rather than where they’ve spent a significant amount of time?