Saudi carrier seeks to poach Qatar Airways crews

Private carrier flynas, in which Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal holds a 34-percent stake, plans to expand its routes from Saudi airports to major cities across Iraq (AFP Photo/FAYEZ NURELDINE) (AFP/File)

Riyadh (AFP) - A Saudi Arabian airline on Monday tweeted a warm welcome to pilots and staff from Qatar Airways whom it hopes to poach after the kingdom severed air links with Doha.

On Twitter early Monday, budget carrier flynas said it "welcomes the Saudi employees working on Qatar Airways airbus A320, and invites anyone with the desire to join flynas and work among its crew".

Flynas tweeted that it seeks not only pilots but also sales, security, maintenance and other personnel.

In the Gulf's biggest diplomatic crisis in years, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and others cut diplomatic ties with Qatar last week after accusing it of supporting extremist groups.

The gas-rich emirate strongly rejects the allegations.

Among the punitive measures Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed was a ban on Qatar Airways flights and a prohibition of the airline's use of surrounding airspace.

Analysts say Qatar Airways' position as a major transcontinental carrier is now threatened.

Saudi carrier flynas, looking to expand in a growing domestic market, in January signed an $8.6-billion (7.6-billion-euro) deal with European manufacturer Airbus to buy 80 A320neo single-aisle jets.