Saudia resuming flights to 13 more cities in November

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The airline resumed international flights to 20 destinations after months of travel disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (File/SPA)
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The airline resumed international flights to 20 destinations after months of travel disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Saudia resuming flights to 13 more cities in November

  • Expats and Umrah pilgrims welcome continued easing of travel restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 pandemic
  • Saudia travellers who are going to the US will only be able to fly to Washington

RIYADH/MAKKAH: Saudia announced on Friday that new international destinations for travelers would be available starting in November.
The announcement, which was made on the airline’s official Twitter account, stated that the total number of international destinations for permitted travelers would be raised to 33.
The decision marks the second partial lifting of the suspension of international flights, following the Sept. 15 step which allowed travel to 20 destinations in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Destinations now include more cities in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa and extend to Beirut, Kuwait, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Milan, Delhi, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Kochi, Lahore, Multan, Mumbai and Peshawar.

Saudi Arabia will end all restrictions on air, land and sea transport early next year, on a date to be announced in December.
 

HIGHLIGHT

Destinations now include more cities in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa and extend to Beirut, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Milan, Delhi, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Kochi, Lahore, Multan, Mumbai and Peshawar.

The new destinations, in particular the Indian cities included on the list, have caused a stir of excitement among expats who have awaited the decision with bated breath since the pandemic began.

Mohammed Rizwan, an Indian citizen who has been quarantining in Saudi Arabia due to the nature of his job, has been waiting for an opportunity to visit home since February with the assurance that he would be able to come back to Saudi Arabia safely.

“My wife and I chose to stay in Saudi Arabia when the pandemic first started, but I am very eager to see my extended family and make sure they are OK, particularly my mother,” he told Arab News.

“My job prevented me from leaving the Kingdom for a long time, but knowing that I will be able to come back without issue is reassuring.” 

The announcement also raises interest among Umrah companies, meaning that more travelers will be allowed to enter the Kingdom to perform the pilgrimage, likely increasing the number of visitors to the holy city of Makkah.

Ahmed Bajaifer, an investor in Umrah companies, said that they will start to move forward with their plans following the announcement, as most of the currently available destinations are “green countries” that are subject to precautionary measures.


On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. (Supplied)
Updated 11 min 29 sec ago

On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

  • Saudi Arabia’s female population is enjoying the new wave of opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle

RIYADH: As sports and other activities continue to gain popularity in Saudi Arabia, residents are seeking out exciting ways to get moving.
The Kingdom’s female population are enjoying the new wave of opportunities that have been made available to them in recent years to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking, outdoor yoga and football are all popular choices, but one less familiar pastime on the increase is cycling.
Events such as the annual Saudi Tour and the General Sports Authority’s highly successful all-women’s cycling race in Jeddah in 2018 have fostered a growing interest in the sport.
Studies have shown that cycling improves overall health, more specifically improving mental health, strengthening the immune system, promoting weight loss, reducing heart disease and cancer and more.
Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists. The group offers lessons that can help any beginner ride a bike safely. (Supplied)

A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.
Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. Shahd Alturki, Doves Ride’s founder and a professional cycling trainer, spoke to Arab News about why she set up the team.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.

• Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally.

• Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

“I founded Doves Ride to create an environment for women and families where they could get into sports,” Alturki said.
Based in Riyadh, Doves Ride’s goal is to create an environment where Saudis can discover what biking is like and meet others with similar interests.
“The idea was to create a team that would motivate Saudi society to start biking, and to raise awareness in general about sport and movement. We also wanted to help teach Saudis to cycle by creating a program to teach people in all categories,” she said.
Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists.
“We welcome participants at any level, whether they are looking for a long-term membership or just to try it out,” said Alturki.
She also spoke about the benefits of the sport and hopes to encourage people to try it out for themselves.
“Biking is more than just a fun sport; it raises your fitness levels and can also boost your mental health,” she said.
For the more hesitant, Alturki reassures them that she is well-equipped to train them and get them on the path to biking like a pro.
“We have bike-riding lessons for zero-experience learners, licensed by the British Cycling Federation. Children, men and women are all welcome to take them. These lessons can help any beginner ride a bike safely, and teaches them all the necessary skills and basics,” she said.
Doves Ride can be contacted via their Twitter or Instagram accounts, @dovesride.