Envoy upbeat about Saudi Arabian Airlines plans to double flights to Maldives

Maldives Ambassador Abdullah Hameed
Updated 04 March 2017
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Envoy upbeat about Saudi Arabian Airlines plans to double flights to Maldives

RIYADH: Maldives Ambassador Abdullah Hameed has expressed optimism regarding plans by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) to double its flights to the South Asian country from two to four weekly.
The envoy told Arab News the two additional flights would originate from Jeddah. Saudia, the Kingdom’s flagship carrier, started its bi-weekly flights to the Maldives from Riyadh at the end of March last year.
Hameed said the two additional flights would increase the number of Saudi tourists to the Maldives, a tropical island nation located just north of the equator in the Indian Ocean.
The country comprises 26 atolls that are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands, and is known for its white-sand beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. About 200 of the islands are inhabited.
Hameed said it is encouraging to see the considerable increase in Saudi tourists. In 2015, 15,749 Saudis visited the Maldives, with a 39.5 percent increase last year to 21,944, he added.
Hameed, a veteran diplomat with more than 20 years experience in the Maldives Foreign Service, said 1.3 million tourists visited his country last year. The Maldives has a population of 393,988.
Besides Saudia, other airlines with flights to the country include Maldives Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Air India and Sri Lankan Airlines, among others.


Unique Riyadh car race brings in enthusiasts from all around

It is not hard to get anyone on to the track — the hardest thing is to get them back again. (Supplied)
Updated 48 min 15 sec ago
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Unique Riyadh car race brings in enthusiasts from all around

  • FJR racing team owner Falah Al-Jarba, who is participating for the first time with his 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, said he was impressed with the first round turnout and noted that the short notice of this event did not affect participation

RIYADH: The first round of the Saudi Time Attack race kicked off on the Reem race circuit yesterday. The 16-category race is unique in its participation since anyone can turn up and join in. Whether you are an everyday driver, enthusiast or would-be racer the Time Attack Race has a category for you.
“We target different types of drivers, usually people with a sports car or regular stock car who want to race their car to the max in a safe environment with other drivers,” said Prince Khalid bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF). He added that the target participants for this race are not necessarily professionals but rather enthusiasts, semi pros, amateurs, and beginners.
FJR racing team owner Falah Al-Jarba, who is participating for the first time with his 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, said he was impressed with the first round turnout and noted that the short notice of this event did not affect participation.
“It is not hard to get anyone on to the track — the hardest thing is to get them back again. Anyone who enters the race track three times of his own free will has the makings of a driver,” he said.

Passion
Prince Mohammed bin Saud bin Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, participating racer and owner of the MS7 racing team, said it is passion that attracts everyone to the race. “It is not a head-to-head race but it is competitive and it is fun. There is no pressure — everyone is here to have fun. I am happy that I participated,” he explained. This also marks a first for Saudi women racing as four women competed for the first time in a car race.
“For the first time we have a ladies category. These opportunities will be better reflected in two to three years’ time but if anyone would ask where did it start, it started here in this 2018 season,” said the “Camaro King” Falah Al-Jarba.
Prince Mohammed is very welcoming of any new competitor to the racing industry.
“At the end of the day if you have two hands, two legs and can drive that’s what it comes down to regardless of your gender, your weight, your height or your size, it is all about how well you can perform under pressure,” he said.
Prince Khalid expects a better turnout for female participants in the next round of the race scheduled for Nov. 16. He added that there has been a great interest in joining the race and wanted to clarify that anyone who wants to take part in the race does not need to have a race car.