Saudi airports welcome back passengers after two-month hiatus

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All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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Workers are working around the clock to ensure surfaces are wiped clean. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21. (AN photo/Bashir Saleh)
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Updated 01 June 2020

Saudi airports welcome back passengers after two-month hiatus

  • Social distancing and face masks required in aircraft
  • Two local flights to be added daily to restore capacity 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is welcoming the return of aircraft and passengers amid strict precautionary measures to counter the spread of coronavirus.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Sunday opened 11 of the Kingdom’s 28 airports in a step toward restoring normality to everyday activities.
All flights and means of travel between Saudi cities ground to a halt on March 21.
“The progressive and gradual reopening aims at controlling the crowd inside airports because we want to achieve the highest health efficiency,” GACA spokesman Ibrahim bin Abdullah Alrwosa told Arab News.

He said that two local flights would be added daily until all routes returned to their normal capacity, during which time GACA would increase the capacity of aircrafts as decided by relevant committees. 
GACA has issued a travel guide for passengers, detailing what steps have been taken by authorities to ensure public health and safety and what obligations are on passengers. 
A decision about the return of international flights was up to authorities, he said. 


“I call on all travelers, both Saudis and residents, to read this guide and to look at the information and details in it because the travel decision depends on it,” the spokesman added.
Passengers found to violate any of the terms and conditions will not be allowed to complete the check-in process as per the new travel procedures.

The new terms include the use of e-tickets and passengers will not be allowed to enter airport premises without one. Purchasing tickets inside airport grounds is currently not an option because booking services for airline sales are currently closed.
Wearing a face mask is a prerequisite for airport access and any individual who fails to wear a face mask will be denied entry to the airport.

 

Passengers under the age of 15 will not be allowed to travel unaccompanied.
The Ministry of Health has set up temperature checkpoints inside the airport and passengers recording a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher will be denied entry in order to ensure their safety and the safety of other passengers.
Social distancing inside the airport has been adopted at entrances, exits, at seating areas and bridges leading to airplanes.
There will be social distancing on the aircraft, with an empty seat between each passenger, according to recommendations from the Ministry of Health, which stipulated that there must be social distancing.

 

 

“We want to make airports a safe environment to achieve a safe flight. There is another important issue, which is a well-known social tradition. There are many people at the airport who come to say goodbye to their loved ones or receive them. We will not allow the presence of people who do not have tickets in the airports, in order to ensure the safety of passengers,” said the GACA spokesman.
He said that passenger cooperation and compliance played a key role in the successful restart of flights.
“We rely on citizens and passengers, locals and residents alike, to help us implement preventive measures and to comply with the health rules recommended by the Ministry of Health.”

 


Over 750k took domestic flights in 1 month: Saudi aviation authority

Photo/SPA
Updated 4 min 8 sec ago

Over 750k took domestic flights in 1 month: Saudi aviation authority

  • GACA has resumed domestic flights gradually with the aim of ensuring travelers’ safety

RIYADH: A total of 756,644 passengers took 9,558 domestic flights in Saudi Arabia between May 31 and June 30, an official with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) told Arab News.
GACA has resumed domestic flights gradually with the aim of ensuring travelers’ safety. All the necessary health measures have been taken in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and relevant government agencies within airport facilities, the official said.
Dentist Afnan Al-Faidi told Arab News: “I’m a frequent flyer and traveled recently from Riyadh to Madinah after domestic flights were resumed. My experience was very good.”
She added: “Of course, there are some changes. I used to reach the airport just 30 minutes before the flight, but now one has to reach two hours before to check in.”
As per the new regulations aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19, passengers should reach the airport at least two hours before the flight to undergo all necessary checks.
“Another change I noticed was the absence of hard copies of boarding passes. Now passengers have to use electronic copies of their passes saved on their mobile phones,” said Al-Faidi.
“A major change I noticed was guides on duty to help travelers with where to stand to keep a safe distance from each other,” she added.
“In the waiting lounge, seating arrangements were made to follow social-distancing norm. Before boarding, passengers were divided into groups according to their seats and allowed to enter at a safe distance,” she said.
“Inside the plane, social distancing was followed with empty seats between passengers. The flight attendants were wearing disposable gowns, goggles and masks, and passengers were wearing face masks.”
GACA said more than 55,000 men and women arrived at the Kingdom’s airports via Saudi Arabian Airlines under the citizens’ repatriation program that began on April 5.
A number of government agencies participated in the program, including GACA and the ministries of foreign affairs, health, tourism and interior.