Heroes’ return for Saudia flight after record LA rescue mission

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Four air crew, including eight pilots and copilots, 43 navigators and 35 flight attendants, were given a heroes’ welcome after manning the Saudia Boeing 777 aircraft on its record-breaking journey to bring 187 Saudi citizens home. (SPA)
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Four air crew, including eight pilots and copilots, 43 navigators and 35 flight attendants, were given a heroes’ welcome after manning the Saudia Boeing 777 aircraft on its record-breaking journey to bring 187 Saudi citizens home. (SPA)
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Four air crew, including eight pilots and copilots, 43 navigators and 35 flight attendants, were given a heroes’ welcome after manning the Saudia Boeing 777 aircraft on its record-breaking journey to bring 187 Saudi citizens home. (SPA)
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Updated 19 April 2020

Heroes’ return for Saudia flight after record LA rescue mission

  • Air crew, including a record 43 flight navigators, worked in shifts for more than 40 hours

RIYADH: More than 180 Saudis stranded in Los Angeles returned to Riyadh amid jubilant scenes on Friday after a record-breaking, 40-hour repatriation flight.

Four air crew, including eight pilots and copilots, 43 navigators and 35 flight attendants, were given a heroes’ welcome after manning the Saudia Boeing 777 aircraft on its record-breaking journey to bring 187 Saudi citizens home.

Preparations for the flight began after King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for the repatriation of Saudis stranded abroad who were unable to return home due to the cancelation of trips amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudia flight SV42 touched down King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh at 9 p.m. on Friday after a round trip to LA, flying over 13,400 km for 17 hours non-stop on each leg of the journey.

Air crew, including a record 43 flight navigators, worked in shifts for more than 40 hours without a layover in Los Angeles.

The Saudia repatriation flight left King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

 

 

The flight returned to Jeddah at 6 p.m. on Friday for a 90-minute stopover for meals and refueling before another Saudia crew took the passengers to their final destination in Riyadh.

Flight SV42 was greeted by the air traffic controller at Jeddah airport: “The Saudi Civil Aviation Authority and Saudi Arabian Airlines welcome you to the skies of the dearest nation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The whole country has followed your trip step by step. You have achieved an unprecedented accomplishment and brought our dear citizens back with you.”   

The pilot responded: “Speaking for myself and on behalf of my fellow navigators, we would like to express our appreciation for the wise leadership that has done everything it could to ensure the safety of its people.”


Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

Photo/ArabsStock.
Updated 36 min 2 sec ago

Saudi women embrace COVID-19 measures at driving schools

  • Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them

JEDDAH: Women in Saudi Arabia have been able to resume driving lessons and license applications, but with a few changes as the country eases restrictions and cautiously returns to normality amid the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Kingdom’s return to normality began on June 21 and businesses were allowed to continue their activities, but only by implementing the safety regulations and directives from the Ministry of Interior to ensure everyone’s safety.

Regulations at women’s driving schools include maintaining a minimum 1-meter distance between people in waiting areas and classrooms, providing hand sanitizers, disinfecting the area at least twice a day, checking the temperature of visitors and workers and refusing entry to anyone with a temperature of over 38° C.

There is also the provision for an onsite room to hold people suspected of being infected, and the appointment of a monitoring body to eliminate social gatherings between classes or in waiting areas and parking lots.

For Sahar Al-Shenawi, a deputy director at a corporate communications firm in Jeddah, these precautions could save her father’s life.

“My father is on dialysis and I’m always taking care of him and giving his medication,” she told Arab News. “I was very surprised to see how prepared they were when I returned (to driving school). It made me feel safe.”

Al-Shenawi was asked to show her ID upon arrival and get her temperature checked before entering the building.

“Seats in the waiting hall and classrooms were a meter apart and very clean. The room was also well ventilated. Everyone was wearing a mask, and instructors and employees would tell everyone coming in not to take off their mask for the duration of their stay.”

Students are not allowed to head to class until 15 minutes before it starts in order to monitor the degree of socialization and distancing between them.

Al-Shenawi began her theory classes this week and she noticed that the length of sessions had decreased from two hours to one to ensure students did not spend too much unnecessary time together.

After class, the instructor escorts five students at a time to minimize overcrowding.

“The theory and simulation parts of the course were merged, because the practical sessions are more important,” she said. “Their examination was canceled, while the first hour is to be spent on theory education and the second on simulation practice.” She added that their preparedness had made her feel very comfortable.

“Precautions should be taken from both sides, not only the organization or the places we go to. These precautions are nowadays considered as social etiquette and manners, it shows how much an individual is responsible, aware and cares about the community and the people around him or her,” Al-Shenawi said, adding that she hoped people were careful with themselves and one another once they left their homes.

Bashayer Al-Mahmadi, a health insurance employee from Jeddah, had a similar experience at driving school. She was reassured when she entered the waiting area and saw that adjacent seats were empty, and was relieved by the sight of hand sanitizers at every corner.

“Only four individuals are allowed into the elevators, and social distancing was maintained throughout my visit to the school,” she told Arab News.

Al-Mahmadi recommended that schools ensured that classrooms had hand sanitizers in them, and for gloves to be distributed among students. “I didn’t notice any during my simulation lecture either, and I was a little disappointed.”