Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla
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Updated 25 January 2022

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla

Saudia to launch direct flights from Paris to AlUla
  • Regular flights will depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport every Sunday from Jan. 30 until Mar. 27

DUBAI: National carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia) is inaugurating on Jan. 27 direct flights from Paris to the historic oasis of AlUla as the Kingdom seeks more avenues to promote the UNESCO heritage site.

The new air route provides a unique opportunity for French travellers and travellers from neighboring countries to be among the first explorers to visit this extraordinary region, a statement said.

Regular flights will depart from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport every Sunday from Jan. 30 until Mar. 27 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that would be deployed would land at AlUla after five hours, it added.

Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer said: “The French are intrepid travellers, always keen to be the first to experience the new. We … hope that many Europeans will take the opportunity to visit our heritage sites and perhaps take in some of our winter events as the flights will run till March 27.”

The winter events season at AlUla features four major festivals on offer until the end of March: Winter at Tantora, AlUla Arts, AlUla Skies and AlUla Wellness.

“This is our first international direct flight to AlUla and we believe one of many as more of our guests around the world are showing an eagerness to explore our country’s history and culture,” Hazem Sonbol, Passenger Sales Vice President of Saudia, said in the statement.

Gérard Mestrallet, Executive President of AFALULA, meanwhile said: “Since the intergovernmental agreement signed by Saudi Arabia and France in April 2018 on AlUla sustainable development, the collaboration between the Saudi and French economic and cultural ecosystems, led by the Royal Commission for AlUla and AFALULA, has proven to be increasingly intense and fruitful.

“Following the access, since September 2019, to tourist visas for Saudi Arabia, the opening of a direct air route from Paris will bolster the attractiveness of this unique cultural destination.”


KSrelief chief meets with CEPI CEO in Riyadh to discuss epidemic, pandemic preparedness

KSrelief chief meets with CEPI CEO in Riyadh to discuss epidemic, pandemic preparedness
Updated 10 sec ago

KSrelief chief meets with CEPI CEO in Riyadh to discuss epidemic, pandemic preparedness

KSrelief chief meets with CEPI CEO in Riyadh to discuss epidemic, pandemic preparedness
  • Dr. Hatchett praised the support offered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by KSrelief, to help CEPI develop COVID-19 vaccines

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) chief Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah met with CEO of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) Dr. Richard Hatchett in Riyadh on Tuesday.

During the meeting, both sides discussed means to enhance cooperation related to providing suitable vaccines to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic along with other contagious diseases.

They also discussed the need to support needy countries with weaker health sectors, study mechanisms to support CEPI to transfer the technology of manufacturing vaccines, as well as benefiting from Saudi Arabia's logistic and humanitarian role in this regard.

Dr. Hatchett praised the support offered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by KSrelief, to help CEPI develop COVID-19 vaccines and offer them to the needy, referring to the solid strategic relations between the two sides.

CEPI is a foundation that takes donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations, to finance independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.


Saudi deputy defense minister to discuss Yemen truce on Washington visit

Saudi deputy defense minister to discuss Yemen truce on Washington visit
Updated 30 min 1 sec ago

Saudi deputy defense minister to discuss Yemen truce on Washington visit

Saudi deputy defense minister to discuss Yemen truce on Washington visit

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman will discuss a truce in Yemen and the Ukraine crisis with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during a visit to Washington on Tuesday, the National Security Council said.
He will also meet with senior defense and State Department officials.


Cabinet affirms Saudi support for international efforts against Daesh

Cabinet affirms Saudi support for international efforts against Daesh
Updated 34 min 1 sec ago

Cabinet affirms Saudi support for international efforts against Daesh

Cabinet affirms Saudi support for international efforts against Daesh
  • The Cabinet congratulated Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on his election as president of the UAE
  • It also also reviewed recent events held in the Kingdom including the Future Aviation Forum

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet affirmed the Kingdom’s support for international efforts against Daesh on Tuesday.

It also affirmed its keenness on the stability of Iraq and the extension of the country’s influence and sovereignty over all of its territory, reiterating the Kingdom’s statement delivered by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at a Global Coalition against Daesh meeting in Marrakech last week.

The Kingdom also stressed its support for efforts to stabilize the security and economic situation in liberated areas in Syria, and welcomed the establishment of the Africa Focus Group to counter the growing threat of the spread of Daesh in the continent.

Acting Minister of Media Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi said that the Cabinet also voiced its sorrow and grief over the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The Cabinet also congratulated Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on his election as president of the UAE, and expressed hope for further action to consolidate bilateral relations and enhance ties among Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

King Salman thanked God for granting the Kingdom the great honor of serving the two holy mosques and for the large number of Umrah pilgrims and worshippers who were able to comfortably and safely visit the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque during Ramadan.

The king also expressed thanks and appreciation to the leaders of Arab, Muslim and friendly countries who checked up on his health after he underwent a colonoscopy, the results of which were fine.

The Cabinet also reviewed recent activities held in the Kingdom including the launch of the Saudi Census 2022, the International Conference and Exhibition for Education 2022, and the Future Aviation Forum, during which more than 50 agreements worth SR10 billion ($2.7 billion) were signed.

It also expressed satisfaction with the growth of the Kingdom’s GDP by 9.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021, recording the highest growth rate in the past ten years, driven by the increase in oil and non-oil activities.


Pakistan religious affairs minister visits Kaaba Kiswa complex

Pakistan religious affairs minister visits Kaaba Kiswa complex
Updated 17 May 2022

Pakistan religious affairs minister visits Kaaba Kiswa complex

Pakistan religious affairs minister visits Kaaba Kiswa complex
  • Mufti Abdul Shakur and his delegation praised the mastery and dedication that goes into making the Kiswa
  • They learned about how the gilded pieces that adorn the Kiswa are embroidered and the craftsmanship behind it

RIYADH: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Mufti Abdul Shakur, has visited the King Abdulaziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa.

He was received by the head of public relations and media at the complex, Ahmed bin Musaed Al-Suwaihri.

The minister and his accompanying delegation watched a visual presentation on the Kiswa including the stages of its manufacture in the Kingdom and how it is replaced.

Mufti Abdul Shakur and his delegation praised the mastery and dedication that goes into making the covering of the Kaaba and the attention with which the materials used to make it are prepared.

They also learned about how the gilded pieces that adorn the Kiswa are embroidered and the craftsmanship behind it.

The delegation thanked the president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, and the under-secretary-general of the complex, Abdul Hamid bin Said Al-Maliki, for giving them the opportunity to learn about the great efforts made by the Kingdom’s government to serve the two holy mosques, pilgrims, and the Kaaba’s Kiswa.


Intense sandstorm envelops parts of Kingdom in gray haze

Intense sandstorm envelops parts of Kingdom in gray haze
Updated 17 May 2022

Intense sandstorm envelops parts of Kingdom in gray haze

Intense sandstorm envelops parts of Kingdom in gray haze
  • The thick blanket of sand made iconic buildings in Riyadh, such as Faisaliyah Tower, Kingdom Center, and other skyscrapers in the King Abdullah Financial District almost impossible to see
  • Cautioning motorists because of the the heavy sandstorm, the traffic department advised drivers to drive slow and exercise restraint, as well as keep their headlights on

RIYADH: An intense sandstorm engulfed several areas in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, hampering visibility due to the widespread dust, slowing road traffic and forcing authorities to issue a weather warning.

The sandstorm battered Riyadh, enveloping the Saudi capital’s skyline with gray haze. The thick blanket of sand made iconic buildings in Riyadh, such as Faisaliyah Tower, Kingdom Center, and other skyscrapers in the King Abdullah Financial District almost impossible to see from a distance of a few hundred meters.

Electronic signs along Riyadh’s highways warned drivers to reduce their speed because of the lower visibility.

Cautioning motorists because of the the heavy sandstorm, the traffic department advised drivers to drive slow and exercise restraint, as well as keep their headlights on.

The General Directorate of Civil Defense also advised Riyadh residents to avoid going to various outskirt spots in sands to avoid accidents during the blinding sandstorm.

There have been no flight delays or cancellations in Riyadh because of the sandstorm.

Issuing the daily weather forecast for the Kingdom, the National Center of Meteorology on Tuesday said: “The surface dusty winds will be active in the Eastern Region and some parts of Riyadh Region, reducing horizontal visibility, while the dusty wind will continue to occur in some parts of Qassim, Hail, Madinah, Makkah and Najran regions, extending to eastern parts of Baha and Asir regions, reducing horizontal sight.”

The report added that partly cloudy skies will be seen in some parts of Tabuk, the Northern Borders and Jawf regions.

The NCM added that surface wind movement in the Red Sea will be northerly to north-westerly at a speed of 25-45 kilometers per hour on northern and central parts, and westerly to north-westerly on southern parts at a speed of 15-35 kilometers per hour. Surface wind movement in the Arabian Gulf will be westerly to north-westerly at a speed of 25-45 kilometers per hour.

In Riyadh, the dusty weather has made it tough for outdoor workers, and residents have struggled to keep sand out of their homes.

Abdul Qadeer, a Bangladeshi construction worker, told Arab News: “The heavy sandstorm that started late last night and engulfed the city and its outskirts in gray haze this morning has made it really tough for us to continue working outdoors due to widespread dust.”

Though not infrequent for May — the sandstorm is the third to hit the Kingdom this month — Tuesday’s storm created unfavorable conditions, with the maximum temperature in Riyadh recorded at 38 degrees Celsius and the minimum at 24 degrees Celsius. The relative humidity was recorded at 11 percent.

Parts of Saudi Arabia typically experience sandstorms at the end of winter and advent of summer between March and May, with varying intensity.

Besides the Kingdom, Tuesday’s sandstorm has affected other countries in the region, including neighboring Iraq, which recorded its eighth sandstorm since mid-April, a phenomenon fueled by soil degradation, intense droughts and low rainfall linked to climate change.