Qatar Airways/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With more than 30 of its daily flights canceled due to a blockade from its neighbors, Qatar Airways has come up with a creative solution for its spare capacity problem.

The airline has apparently agreed to loan nine of its Airbus A320 aircraft to British Airways to fly on short-haul routes over the summer.

BA this week asked the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority for approval to use the aircraft and their Qatar Airways crews between July 1 and July 16.

BRIYYZ/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The so-called “wet lease” deal is to provide cover for a planned 16-day strike by British Airways Mixed Fleet cabin crew in July.

“The application has been made on the grounds that the lease is justified on the basis of exceptional needs … to enable British Airways to continue passenger operations in light of planned operational disruption by its mixed fleet cabin crew,” a CAA document said, according to Reuters.

Everybody wins

It is highly unusual for British Airways to use another airline’s aircraft and crew to cover its flights.

However, Qatar Airways owns 20 percent of BA’s parent company IAG, and the airlines are also oneworld partners.

Qatar Airways/Flickr

Qatar Airways A320 business class section

It’s not clear whether Qatar Airways will send its mainline planes to London, or the more sparsely equipped aircraft that had been due to serve on the now defunct Al Maha routes.

According to the Points Guy, if normal Qatar Airways aircraft are used, it will be a big upgrade for BA short-haul passengers who are used to smaller seats and a limited service:

“The use of Qatar Airways aircraft on short-haul British Airways routes will not only be an unusual first for BA, it will be a huge upgrade for both economy and business passengers (if BA is given approval by the CAA).

It’s likely the airline will be granted permission, and these Qatar Airways cabins will offer BA passengers a unique and different experience during a disruptive time for British Airways, which is having to deal with yet another strike.”

ICAO special meeting

BA’s request should keep some of Qatar Airways’ shorthaul aircraft briefly busy this summer. But the airline is still dealing with the impact of ongoing bans on flights over its neighboring countries.

This is leading to longer flight times and, crucially, higher fuel costs.

FlightRadar24

A screenshot from Flight Radar 24 on June 6th

In an effort to end these bans, Qatar Airways has asked the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to hold a special meeting next week.

Qatar’s Minister of Transport Jassim Saif Al Sulaiti told Reuters that Qatar wanted to “get more routes” and wanted ICAO to open air routes over Gulf waters currently managed by the United Arab Emirates.

However, the ICAO likely won’t be able to bring about a swift resolution to the dispute.

According to Reuters, ICAO cannot impose rules on states. And efforts to resolve similar issues in the past, such as the case of Cuba and the US in the 1990s, took years.

Thoughts?

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Eid Mubarak

Photo by Ameer Abdul Razak / AAR Photography

Happy Eid!

The Doha News team wishes everyone a happy and blessed Eid Al-Fitr holiday. May it be filled with family, friends, food and fun.

If you’re wondering how to celebrate, have a look at this: A guide to spending Eid Al Fitr in Qatar – 2017 edition

What are your plans for Eid? Thoughts?

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Eid prayers

The first day of Eid Al Fitr will be Sunday, June 25, officials from Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) have just announced.

Awqaf’s moon sighting committee met at their Dafna headquarters tonight to receive witness testimony and make their decision.

The moon signifies the end of Ramadan and the start of the new month, which means that the Eid holidays officially begin tomorrow.

Video still

Awqaf announces Eid

Eid prayer will be held at 319 mosques around the country at 5:00am on Sunday. Awqaf has released a list of the prayer spaces in Arabic.

For a comprehensive guide to all the activities and events planned around town starting tomorrow, check out our Eid guide here.

What are your plans for the holiday? Thoughts?

Jameel Riaz/Flickr

Eid Fireworks show at Katara

Eid Al Fitr – the holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan – is likely to begin on Sunday, June 25 this year.

Holidays for the public sector have already started, so expect most government ministries to be closed all week, with offices re-opening on Tuesday, July 4.

Many schools are also finishing up for the summer in time for Eid, so it’s peak travel season at the airport.

To keep things running smoothly, Hamad International Airport (HIA) has advised passengers to check-in online and to arrive at the airport at least three hours ahead of their departures.

Not everyone is traveling though, and despite the ongoing Gulf dispute, there is a lot going on around town to enjoy during Eid week.

Note: We’ll be updating this guide as more information as items come in. Feel free to leave a comment with anything you think we’re missing!

Here’s what you need to know about spending Eid Al Fitr in Qatar this year:

Prayer times

Eid prayers will be performed at 5am at hundreds of mosques and prayer grounds in various areas of the country, including 35 mosques and places reserved for women.

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Each year, Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) advises prayer-goers to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion and to park their cars properly.

Weather

It will come as no surprise to anyone that this year’s Eid will be hot!

Forecasters reckon that daytime temps will top out at around 43C. Windy and dusty conditions should die down by Sunday, but pick back up again for the rest of the week.

Humidity is also expected to start setting in.

The Qatar Meterology Department (MET) has advised residents to avoid going outside during the peak daytime hours.

Airport

Eid Al-Fitr is one of the busiest times for travel in Qatar and Hamad International Airport (HIA) will be crowded.

Takahiro Hayashi/Flickr

Hamad International Airport

Travelers have been advised to check-in online and to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight departure. Residents 18 years and older should use e-gates to avoid long queues (children are not allowed to use the service).

Additionally, until June 28, only passengers traveling with passports and tickets or boarding cards will be allowed entry to the departures terminal.

Also until June 28, short-term parking will be free for the first hour. After this hour, visitors will incur charges of QR5/hour.

Government offices

The Emiri Diwan has announced that all ministries, government departments and public sector entities will be closed from June 25 until July 3 inclusive.

They will re-open on July 4.

Ministry of Interior/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

However, the Ministry of Interior said working hours of its service departments will be open in a reduced capacity during this time period.

They will run from 8am to noon, while security departments will work around-the-clock.

Usually the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriate Affairs, General Directorate of Traffic, Criminal Evidence and Investigation Department are the ones open during the Eid holiday.

Healthcare

Lesley Walker / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

HMC hospitals

All inpatient and emergency services across Hamad Medical Corp.’s (HMC) network of hospitals will continue to operate 24/7 as usual throughout the Eid Al Fitr holidays.

All outpatient department (OPD) clinics will however be closed from Sunday, June 25 to Tuesday, June 27 unless stated below.

  • Hamad General Hospital: Walk-in and medication refill clinics will operate on June 28 and 29.
  • Women’s Hospital: No clinics on June 25 and 26. From June 27 to June 29, the High-Risk Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Clinic, a Fetomaternal Unit Clinic and a Newborn Screening Clinic will be operating.
  • Al Khor Hospital: OPD clinics and the pharmacy will be closed from June 25-29 and will reopen on July 2. The Accident and Emergency department pharmacy will open 24 hours a day. All urgent cases, including patients who require medication refill services, should go to the Emergency Department.
  • Al Wakrah Hospital: Al Wakrah Hospital’s Emergency Department, including the Adult See and Treat Unit, the Pediatric Emergency Unit and the Emergency and Inpatient Pharmacies, will remain open throughout the break. OPD clinics in General Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Burns Surgery and Physiotherapy will be open on June 28 and 29. Full outpatient services will resume on July 2.

    Lesley Walker / Doha News

    Al Wakrah Hospital

  • The Cuban Hospital: All OPD clinics and pharmacies will operate based on demand, with regular services resuming on July 2. Patients will be contacted by phone and SMS to confirm their appointments. Obstetric patients in need of urgent care should go to the Emergency Department. The Emergency Department, including the pharmacy, will remain open 24/7 and services will include the dispensing of urgent prescription refills. The dental service is closed all week. Emergency care will however be provided through the Emergency Department.
  • National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR): The Day Care Unit will be closed June 25 and 26. and will reopen on June 27. There will be a morning clinic for Oncology, Hematology, Pain Management and urgent referrals on June 28 and 29. Radiotherapy will be open throughout the holidays.
  • Heart Hospital: All outpatient clinics will be closed from June 25-29 and will reopen on July 2. 
  • Rumailah Hospital: Dermatology clinics will be closed June 25-27. On June 28 and 29, there will be morning clinics from 9am to 12pm. Plastic Surgery Clinics will be closed on June 25 while morning clinics will operate from 8am to 1pm from June 26-29. The Wound Care Clinic will be closed June 25-27 and there will be morning clinics from 8am to 1pm on June 28 and 29. There will be no Geriatric Clinics; however, the DOTS (direct observed therapy short course) will run everyday from 6am to 10pm.
  • Mental Health Services: Mental Health Services clinics, including all evening clinics, will be closed June 25-29, with exception of an Injection Administration Clinic which will be open on June 27 from 7am to noon. The Older Adult Outreach Service will operate from June 25 and the Community Adult Outreach Service will be on-call for emergencies only. The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will be closed from June 25-29 and will re-open on July 2. All other clinics will re-open on July 2.
  • Dental Outpatient Department: The Dental Outpatient Department will be closed from June 25-29. Emergency appointments will be available on June 28 and 29.

    Pixabay

    Photo for illustrative purposes only.

  • Qatar Rehabilitation Institute: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Outpatient clinics are closed throughout the holidays. However, a physician on-call service will be available.
  • Ambulatory Care Center: The Ambulatory Care Center’s Podiatry Clinics and the GI/Endoscopy Clinic will be closed from June 25-29 and will reopen on July 2.
  • Communicable Disease Center: There will be one morning clinic every day at the Communicable Disease Center June 26-29, from 7:30am to noon, then in the evening from 3:30pm to 7:30pm.
  • The Hamad Customer Service Center (Nesma’ak) will be closed from June 25-27 and will re-open on June 28 and 29 from 8am to 4pm.  Patients requiring information can call 16060 during these times to inquire about or change their appointments.

PHCC centers

Health centers run by the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) will operate the following opening hours during the Eid holiday (June 25 until July 3 inclusive).

PHCC/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Omar Bin Kattab, Al Rayyan, Madinat Khalifa, Rawdat Al Khail, Abu Baker Sidiq, Leabaib, West Bay, Mesaimeer, Umm Ghuwailina and Airport will be open from 7am to 2pm, then from 4pm to 11pm. Dental service at these clinics will operate the same hours, but will be closed on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr and on Friday mornings.

Health centers at Al Khor and Al Shamal will be open from 7am to 2pm, then from 4pm to 11pm, and Al Wakrah from 7am to 11pm.

Al Shehaniyah will be open daily from 7am to 9pm.

Al Jumailia and Al Kabaan health centers will operate according to the on-call system 24/7.

Hissa Al-Hitmi

Photo for illustrative purposes only

For dental care: Al Wakrah is open from 7am to 2pm, then 3pm to 9pm, Al Khor from 7am to 2pm, then 4pm to 10pm and Al Shehaniyah and Al Shamal from 7am to 2pm. Clinics at Al Thumama, Abu Nakhla, Al Gharafa, Al Karaana, Umm Salal, Al Ghuwairya and Al Daayen will be closed during the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

The ophthalmology clinic will operate daily at Rawdat Al Khail health center, Madinat Khalifa health center and Al Rayyan health center during morning hours only from June 25 to July 3, except on Fridays.

The ENT clinic will operate daily in Rawdat Al Khail during morning shift only from June 25 to July 3 except on Fridays and Saturdays.

The dermatology clinics will operate in Abu Baker Sidiq health center during morning hours only on June 25 and June 28, at Leabaib during mornings only on June 27, June 29 and July 2.

All premarital examination clinics will be closed in all health centers except at Al Rayyan, which will operate on June 27 and June 29 from 7am to 1pm.

Supermarkets

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Family Food Center: all outlets will be closed on the first day of Eid. Thereafter, they will resume pre-Ramadan opening hours. This means they’ll be open Saturday to Thursday from 7:30am to midnight, and Friday from 7:30am to 10:30am then 12:30pm to 11pm.

Lulu hypermarket: Branches will be closed until 2pm on the first day of Eid, and then resume normal working hours.

Banks

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Banks, insurance companies and financial institutions under Qatar Central Bank jurisdiction will close for Eid  from June 25 to 29.

This means that many will be closed for nine days, including with two weekend holidays on June 23 and 24 and June 30 and July 1.

Opening hours across the holiday vary significantly, so check with your bank so that you don’t have a wasted journey.

Doha Bank: Closed on the first day of Eid, then open 5pm-9pm on the 2nd and 3rd days of the holiday. Normal timings thereafter.

Malls – Shopping deals

The Qatar Shopping Festival has already begun in malls around town and lasts until Sept. 5, offering discounts, promotions and prize draws.

Retailers at participating malls will offer discounts of up to 50 percent, and many venues are also putting on live entertainment.

Supplied

Mall of Qatar

For every QR200 spent at any participating outlets in these malls, shoppers will be entered into a Mega Raffle Draw to be held on the final day of QSF .

There are 10 cash prizes, and a luxury car is the main award.

Here is a list of participating malls, and their opening hours, as published by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA):

QTA

Shopping Festival 2017 – Mall times

Malls – Entertainment

Performances, activities and children-friendly family events will take place at malls across town for five days, starting with the first day of Eid.

These are part of the Qatar Summer Festival, which is two months long this year instead of one.

Qatar Tourism Authority

Children enjoy a free show at Lagoona Mall

Those participating in the festivities include: Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City (DFC), Lagoona Mall, Al Khor Mall, The Mall (D-Ring), Landmark and Gulf Mall.

DFC: A 30-minute show of Ice Age will be held at DFC daily at 3pm, 5pm and 8:30pm. There will also be Ardah (traditional sword) dances, guitar performances and shows by magician Ambush Man.

Al Khor Mall: Bollywood, hip-hop dance shows, magic shows by Mysterious Ash and acro-balance performances will be held daily from 5:50pm until 10:30pm. A henna artist will also be in the mall on June 23 and 24.

Gulf Mall: A roaming circus, mime artists and Tanoura dancers will perform around the mall daily from 6pm.

QTA

Eid 2016 festivities at Lagoona Mall

Mall of Qatar: Children’s activities, handicraft workshops, cultural events and live performances on the Oasis stage will take place daily throughout Eid.

Landmark Mall: Italian music parades and human “statues” from London will perform at the mall daily from June 26-29 from 5pm until 9pm.

Lagoona Mall: Performances of Beauty and the Beast will take place daily on stage at 5pm, 7pm and 9pm.

The Mall: Mascots will roam the mall and parades will take place throughout the venue daily from 6:30pm until 9.30pm.

Entertainment City

The Doha Exhibition and Conference Center (DECC) near City Center mall is again hosting lots of family fun as part of the Qatar Summer Festival, from June 25 until Sept. 5.

Children's mini football at DECC

QSL/Flickr

Children’s mini football at DECC

There will be rides, games and daily live shows. Activities will include the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course, Timba cars, Bricklyn Lego, virtual reality and arcade games and a paintball shooting range. There will also be food stalls.

Entertainment City will be open daily from 2pm until 11pm. Entrance is QR15, or QR150 for a day pass.

The Souqs

Souq Waqif: There will be family activities and street performances daily through the first five days of Eid, from 4pm until 10pm. Rides and entertainment will be available at QR10 per game.

Chantelle D'mello

Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2016

Souq Al Wakrah: Rides and entertainment will be open daily during the first five days of Eid from 5pm until 8pm. First-class entry is QR70, while standard entry is QR30.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara’s Eid Al-Fitr festival this year will run June 25-28, from 7:30pm until 11pm at Beach 15.

Katara

Eid gifts being distributed to children at Katara

There will be stories of Arab heritage which interpret the tales from 1001 Nights with shows at 7pm, 8:30pm and 9:45pm, Eidiyaa (giveaways for children at 7:30pm and 9pm), and daily fireworks shows at 10:15pm.

Entry is free.

The Pearl-Qatar

Celebrations will take place from June 25-27, from 6pm until 10pm at an indoor hall in 29 La Croisette, Porto Arabia.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Summer Festival at the Pearl

The family-oriented events include arts and crafts stations, a children’s kitchen workshop, stilt walkers, jugglers, human “statues” and mascots. There will be three shows daily.

Asian Town

Superstar Night Damaka 2017 will take place at the Asian Town amphitheater on the first and second nights of Eid.

Asian Town/Facebook

Eid Al-Fitr 2017 festivities

Gates will open 3pm, and the program starts from 6pm. Tickets cost QR100, QR55 and QR35 per person.

Cricket tournament are also being organized on the first and second days of Eid. Raffle draws with prizes will be conducted during the first two days of the holiday as well.

Aqua Park

The Aqua Park will be open daily from June 26-30 from 10am until 10pm for Hawaiian-style fun.

Surfing at Aqua Park Qatar

Aqua Park Qatar / Facebook

Surfing at Aqua Park Qatar

Basic entry fee is QR120 for adults and QR100 for children, and QR70 for domestic staff (with ID) and people with special needs. There’s an extra charge for lockers, the surf machine and boomerango.

Philippine Independence Day celebrations

The Filipino community is celebrating their independence day from June 26 to 28 at the City Center Rotana Doha Hotel from 8am to 8pm. The event is open to all OFWs free of charge.

Philippines celebration

There will be a pageant, a chess tournament, colorful entertainment and a food bazaar,, as well as fashion shows and free lectures on financial literacy, blogging and film making, among others.

More information can be found here.

Aerial paragliding tours

The Qatar Air Sports Committee will offer aerial paragliding tours at Sealine Beach Road, Mesaieed on the first five days of Eid from 3:30pm until 6:30pm.

Do7a Chic/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Participants must be over 18 years, and it costs QR250 per person.

Sheikh Faisal Museum

Special tours of the museum in Al Samariyah will be organized through the first seven days of the Eid Al Fitr holiday.

Sheikh Faisal Museum/Facebook

Sheikh Faisal museum

The museum is open Sunday from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Thursday from 9am until 4:30pm, Friday 2 to 7pm and Saturday from 10am until 6pm.

Children under 8 years are free, children 8-18 years cost QR10, and adults are QR15 for entry. Call ahead to confirm on 4486 1444.

Horse riding

Visitors to the Al Samariyah Equestrian Centre will be able to take hour-long farm rides between 4:30pm and 6pm on days 1-5 of Eid.

Lesley Walker

Photo for illustrative purposes only

Rides will cost QR120 for adults and QR80 for children, and shorter Toddler Pony Rides will cost QR30.

Aspire Zone

Fatimah Ashraf Khan

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Aspire Park visitors will be able to take out Paddle Boats (QR20) or try out Radio Controlled Cars (QR25) on Days 1-4 of the Eid holiday from 5pm to 6pm and 5pm to 10pm.

Mindsports

The 4th World Mindsports championship will take place at the DECC in Dafna/West Bay as part of the summer festival, from Aug. 19 until 27.

Participants will pit their wits against opponents in games such as Scrabble, Chess, Go, Bridge, Backgammon and e-Sports.

QTA

Event flier

Though the event is a bit far off, pre-registration is required (you can do it here).

Paddling at the mangroves

Discover Arabia is organizing sunset mangrove kayaking trips daily from June 23 to June 30.

The trips start at the Al Thakira mangroves at 4pm and last about three hours.

Kayaking at Al Thakira

Discover Arabia/Facebook

Kayaking at Al Thakira

They include a barbecue (though its bring your own food). Water and soft drinks will be provided, as well as carpets, pillows, seating, grills and toilet facilities.

Bookings cost QR200 per adult, and QR100/child. Call 30233207 prior to booking to check availability. More information is here.

Do you know of any activities around Qatar which we should add? Please comment below or email us at [email protected]

Eid Mubarak from all at Doha News! Thoughts?