Saudi planes have not received permission to land and fetch Qatari pilgrims journeying to Hajj.

The news comes despite Saudi King Salman's command to open the Salwa land border with Qatar for pilgrims to pass through, as well as his promise to transport Qataris for Hajj via air at his own expense. 

Following King Salman's directives, Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani initially said his country "welcomes the decision and will respond positively." However, he also accused Saudi Arabia of politicizing Hajj.

Saudi aircraft haven't been allowed to land in Doha

But despite the foreign minister's words, Qatari authorities have yet to grant the necessary permissions for Saudi aircraft to land. 

"Saudi Arabian Airlines director general Saleh al-Jasser has said that the airline has thus far been unable to schedule flights to transport Qatari pilgrims from Hamad International Airport in Doha as Qatari authorities have not allowed the aircraft to land," a report from the Saudi Press Agency said.

However, a source from Qatar Civil Aviation Authority said the Saudi claim was "baseless", according to the Qatar News Agency. The source said the request was simply being referred through to proper channels for approval.

The decision to open the Salwa border and transport Qatari pilgrims came after a meeting between Saudi leaders and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Ali Al Thani, a prominent – yet little-known – member of the Qatari royal family. Sheikh Abdullah met first with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia before traveling to meet with King Salman, who is currently vacationing in Morocco.

For his part, Sheikh Abdullah expressed disappointment that his country had not yet granted the planes permission to land.

"Brothers and sons: I regret the blocking of Saudi aircraft from Doha (to transport pilgrims) to perform Hajj, and I hope that the brothers in Qatar cooperate to facilitate Hajj for (Qatari) citizens."

Ongoing tensions

Qatar's relationship with Saudi Arabia has soured since early June. Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE have joined the kingdom in blockading the emirate, accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism.

The Hajj has become a significant issue in the crisis, as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have accused each other of using the pilgrimage and the holy city of Mecca as a political tool in their dispute.  

More than 20,000 Qataris applied for Hajj visas this year, according to Middle East Eye, but the country has only been granted a quota of 1,600.