Flags of member-nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Oman: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the signing of the AlUla Declaration on "Solidarity and Stability" during the 41st GCC Summit.

The IATA also hailed the recent move taken by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to reopen the air, land and sea borders with Qatar.

The latest decision by these countries paves the way for airliners to resume regional and global air connectivity, something which reduces flight times, cuts operational costs, and provides essential air links that support the travel and tourism industry throughout the region, IATA said.

Mohammed Al Bakri, Regional Vice President, International Air Transport Association for Africa and the Middle East, affirmed that the reopening of airspace with Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt is an important decision for travelers and the air transport sector as a whole, especially during these times.

The direct flight route will facilitate the global transportation and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, given the importance of the strategic location of the region and the intercontinental airspace.

Al Bakri added that move will contribute to operating direct routes between these countries, which will save travelers a lot of time, as previous flights have seen an increase in the original flight time from 40 minutes to more than 5 hours in some cases. In addition, direct routes will help reduce cost, which would contribute to helping airliners face the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus.