Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only

The cost of premium (91-octane) fuel in Qatar will fall by 5 dirhams to QR1.55 in July, the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) has announced.

Though marginal, this is the first time since October 2016 that premium fuel prices are dropping.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel will also fall 5 dirhams to QR1.50/liter.

MEI

July petrol prices

However, 95-octane super petrol will remain at QR1.65, after dropping 5 dirhams in June.

Before that, petrol prices held steady for two months, following five consecutive months of increases, from November 2016 to March 2017.

Gulf dispute

For now, the ongoing Gulf crisis that has left Qatar isolated from its neighbors should not affect petrol prices, according to experts.

RasGas

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Speaking to AFP this month, M.R. Raghu, executive vice president of Kuwait Financial Center (Markaz), said:

“Given the severe supply glut in the oil markets globally, it is quite unlikely that the Gulf spat would lead to a spike in oil prices in the short or medium term.”

However, if the matter escalates into a military confrontation that disrupts oil and gas supply lines, then energy prices around the world would likely soar, some analysts said, according to Al Jazeera.

Currently, Qatar is mulling a long list of demands sent by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE.

It has about a week left to respond, or face a possible “divorce” from the GCC.

Thoughts?

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Photos courtesy of QNA, Katara, Nashira Usef and Lagoona Mall

Qatar residents turned out in droves to masjids, malls and other hotspots around the country to celebrate the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

Many spent time with friends and family, as well as went out to eat after a month of refraining from food during the daylight hours.

At Katara Cultural Village, thousands of people attended live entertainment shows and checked out the first in a series of daily fireworks shows this week.

Entertainment was in full swing over at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center, Asian Town and several malls, including Lagoona:

For a full list of what’s going on around town, check out our Eid guide here.

How is your holiday going? Thoughts?

Pixabay

For illustrative purposes only.

A new song that expresses solidarity with Qatar, its people and its leader has just been released by local composer Dana Al Fardan.

Titled “One Nation” in English and “Al Yaqeen” in Arabic, the track calls for Qatari unity and pride during one of the worst political crises the country has ever faced.

A behind-the-scenes video shows Fahad Al Kubaisi and Essa Al Kubaisi singing the Arabic lyrics, while Al Fardan, CEO of DNA Sounds, sings the English version.

A plethora of others were also involved in the production of the tribute, which was recorded at Katara Studios.

For example, the Qatar Concert Choir’s Giovanni Pasini managed the musical arrangement and organized the accompanying choir, while Christoph Schmitz produced the piece.

“The collaborative nature of this project is a true testament to the fact that together we are stronger. God bless our Nation,” Al Fardan told Doha News.

The song

Though the idea behind One Nation was first conceived before the Gulf dispute, it took on special meaning because of the conflict.

According to I Love Qatar co-founder Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, whose group collaborated on the project, the song drew strength from all the people who have rallied behind Qatar.

“Let me just say that the current situation in the GCC is something that we all want to remember as a distant memory and one that didn’t happen,” he told Doha News.

However during this time, we’ve seen that people from all over the world have united with Qatar. It’s been a privilege to be a part of this project and one that I hope everyone enjoys.”

In the video, several picturesque shots of Qatar’s skyline and desert, as well as celebrations on National Day and other holidays, are flashed across the screen as the music plays.

Video still

One Nation snapshot

The main lines from the English part of the song highlight Qatar’s strength and presumably enlightened thinking:

“From a grain of sand, to a world of hope placed in our hands, you gave us strength and faith in all that we’ve become.

Our nation flowers as the sun sheds it light, the light of knowledge that basks upon our country’s eyes.”

Simon Chan/Flickr

Emir’s portrait

It concludes with a strong refrain about resilience and firm support for Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s Emir.

“We stand tall, above it all. Rain will fall, to plant the seeds that feed us all. We stand united, behind our leader with all our might. With you we rise, our nation’s pride.”

Thoughts?

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?