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.


Saudi Arabia welcomes election of Hissein Brahim Taha as Secretary-General of OIC

Updated 28 November 2020

Saudi Arabia welcomes election of Hissein Brahim Taha as Secretary-General of OIC

  • Former Chadian FM will take over the post from current Secretary-General in November 2021
  • Prince Faisal wished Taha success, said the “Kingdom will spare no effort to support” him

LONDON: Saudi Arabia welcomed the election of Hissein Brahim Taha as Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes the nomination of Mr. Taha, fulfilling the Kingdom’s previous commitment toward the African Group, and acting according to the organization’s charter regarding the choice of Secretary-General reflecting fair geographic representation, circulation and equal opportunities among member countries,” Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said in a statement.
“The Kingdom offers full support to the new Secretary-General stemming from its active role in serving Islamic causes around the world,” the minister added.

Prince Faisal also wished the former Chadian minister of foreign affairs success in his duties and said the “Kingdom will spare no effort to support” Taha during his tenure which will start in November 2021.   
The Kingdom's foreign minister thanked current Secretary-General Youssef Al-Othaimeen for his great efforts as head of the OIC.