The region’s newest airline, Qatar Airways (QA), was forced to cancel its inaugural flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka on 12 April, after the Indian authorities refused it permission to fly over its air space. QA chief executive Sheikh Hamad al-Thani described the decision by the Indian civil aviation authorities as a great shock and said that the issue would be taken up with the Indian embassy in Doha.

The cancellation followed three days of talks between Indian and Qatari civil aviation officials in Doha to discuss new landing rights for the airline in India. During the discussions, QA’s request to fly to Bombay and Trivandrum was turned down by Indian civil aviation officials, who instead offered the airline new routes to New Delhi and Calcutta.