Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday got permission to operate 12 additional hajj flights paving the way for trips of all intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, a top official of religious affairs ministry said. It was reported by Saudi state television that about 100 Qataris have arrived at the land border on August 17.
Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines Engineer Saleh Al-Jasser said Qatari authorities have not allowed Saudi Arabian Airlines' planes to land despite making the request days in advance, a Saudi Press Agency report said.
Saudi Airlines said it had not been given permission by Qatar to transport pilgrims from Doha to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, according to Saudi state news.
The government separately allocated seven flights of the Saudi national carrier to bring pilgrims from Doha at the monarch's expense, state news agency SPA announced.
Doha welcomed this measure, but said that it had "political" and other contexts.
The diplomatic rift has since led to the closure of the Salwa border crossing, the only overland connection between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The coordinator in charge of Medina Operation and Secretary of NAHCON, Dr Bello Tambuwal stated this while briefing journalists at the commission's office on Saturday in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
An official from Qatar's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) denied claims made by media outlets in the blockading nations that Qatar had refused to allow Saudi Airlines to fly Qatari pilgrims.
The directives were given after the mediation of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani.
"Now we don't have any uncertainty over sending the rest of the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia".
More than 20,000 Muslims from Qatar have applied for visas for this year's Hajj, but Qatar has only been given a quota of 1,600. Qatar rejects the allegation that it backs extremist groups and says the moves are politically motivated.
It marks the first change to a months-long blockade imposed on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The quartet also halted direct flights, expelled Qatari residents and the three Gulf countries ordered their citizens in Qatar to leave.