A post is being shared on social media claiming that recently Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have cancelled the operating license of Qatar Airways amid the deepening diplomatic crisis. This post claims that both these Arab countries have come to this decision after the political pressure from India. In the wake of the Qatar government’s demand for a public apology from the Indian Government over the BJP’s spokesperson’s recent comments on Prophet Muhammed, this post is going viral on social media. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
Claim: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain recently cancelled the operating license of Qatar Airways amid the political pressure from India.
Fact: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain revoked the operating license of Qatar Airways in June 2017 over terrorism concerns. Saudi Arabia re-opened their airspace to Qatar Airways in January 2021. Recently, after the BJP’s spokesperson’s comments on Prophet Muhammed, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain did not again revoke the license of Qatar Airways. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When we searched to check whether the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Bahrain had recently cancelled the operating license of the Qatar Airways, we could not find any recent press release stating this information on the Saudi Arabia or Bahrain government websites.
On 05 June 2017, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia issued a press release announcing the complete cut-off of diplomatic and consular relations with the state of Qatar. Citing national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism, the Saudi Arabia government cut off all diplomatic relations with Qatar. As part of this, the Saudi government decided to close all land, sea and airports, to prevent crossing into Saudi territories, airspace and territorial waters. On 06 June 2017, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments revoked the operating license of Qatar Airways over terrorism concerns. Reporting this news, several news websites published articles. They can be seen here and here.
The Saudi Arabia government revoked the airspace ban on Qatar Airways in January 2021. Qatar Airways through a Facebook post on 10 January 2021 announced that they are resuming flights to Saudi Arabia. Recently, after the BJP spokesperson’s comments on Prophet Muhammed, neither the Saudi Arabia government nor the Bahrain government had again revoked the operating license of Qatar Airways.
To sum it up, 2017 news of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain revoking operating license of Qatar Airways is shared as a recent one.