Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia

Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia
Domestic flights had resumed and citizens and residents were able to travel without getting tested. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 16 October 2020

Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia

Airlines report huge demand from stranded expats wishing to return to Saudi Arabia
  • Health Ministry reports 472 new COVID-19 cases, 507 recoveries, 19 deaths

MAKKAH: A large number of expats in the Indian subcontinent say they want to return to the Kingdom, a Saudia airlines official said as the country resumed international flights to 20 cities.
In line with the directions of the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation travelers can now fly to Amman, Dubai, Tunis, Cairo, Alexandria, Khartoum, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Paris, Washington, DC, Islamabad, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
The company source said domestic flights had resumed and citizens and residents were able to travel without getting tested. However, the scale of the operation was affected due to social distancing measures.
The source said many expats had expressed a wish to return, especially from the Indian subcontinent in India and Pakistan.
The source also said the Ultraviolet C light sanitization process has been added to the aircraft’s cleaning protocol. “Airplanes are sanitized after each trip, as are all the airports’ halls and rooms.”
Field teams are working around the clock and are handling the sanitization operations on a daily basis, using eco-friendly products in line with the highest international health and safety standards, he added.
“The sanitizing operations cover doors, gates, walls, waiting seats, passport check points, luggage scanners and carts, restrooms and everything travelers touch to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”
Saudi Arabia partially lifted the suspension of international flights from Sept. 15, six months after travel restrictions were imposed because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
It will end all restrictions on air, land and sea transport at some point after Jan. 1 next year, the Interior Ministry said, on a date to be announced in December. The airline normally flies to more than 85 destinations worldwide.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced 19 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday. The death toll now stands at 5,127. There were 472 new cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning 341,062 people had now contracted the disease. There were 8,608 active cases, and 829 of them are in a critical condition.
According to the Ministry of Health, Madinah recorded the highest number of cases in the Kingdom with 83, while Makkah reported 38, and Riyadh 25.
In addition, 507 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 327,327.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 7,214,793 PCR tests, with 52,966 carried out in the past 24 hours.

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