RIYADH: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is working in cooperation with all relevant government agencies to arrange for the return of Saudi citizens currently trapped abroad as a result of security measures imposed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Saleh Al-Jasser, minister of transport and chairman of GACA, said that in compliance with the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the transport system, represented by GACA, was working to ready airport terminals as part of a series of decisions issued by the king to ensure the safety of citizens in light of the coronavirus outbreak, in the Kingdom and abroad.
Al-Jasser added: “GACA has harnessed all its efforts and capabilities to receive the citizens wishing to return to the Kingdom. It has prepared terminals in the Kingdom’s international airports: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.
“GACA also endeavors to schedule the flights designated for the plan to return Saudi citizens to the Kingdom in coordination with the national carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), in addition to continuous coordination with the airports of other countries.”
Al-Jasser highlighted that GACA would take all precautionary and preventive measures against COVID-19 in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
The Saudi minister of tourism, Ahmed Al-Khatib, has also announced that 11,000 rooms in various accommodations across the Kingdom are ready to welcome the returning citizens, with more rooms to be facilitated.
The Ministry of Education, meanwhile, has followed up with its 31 cultural bureaus on the health and safety of Saudi scholarship students abroad. At present, 124,228 Saudis are abroad as part of the the scholarship program, with 79,113 scholarship students as well as 45,115 accompanying family members. The ministry is to provide them with the means of return to the Kingdom if they wish to do so.