Authorities in Saudi Arabia announced yesterday that they were temporarily closing the kingdom’s borders to flights from 14 countries, including the UAE.
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These flights will give Saudi travellers a way to return home. Only Saudi nationals will be allowed to travel on the Emirates flights from Dubai to Jeddah and Dammam. The flight to Riyadh will be open to Saudi nationals and travellers holding permits for the G20 Summit.
Return flights from the three Saudi airports will only be open to non-Saudi nationals.
Flights to and from Saudi Arabia for “all air carriers” operating from the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy, Iraq, Oman, France, Germany, Turky and Spain have been temporarily suspended.
Authorities announced that the measure was a bid to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Following the statement from the General Authority of Civil Aviation Saudi Arabia, all flights from the UAE to Damman, Jeddah, Medina and Riyadh were cancelled.
Emirates customers who were due to travel to or from Saudi Arabia can rebook flights on an alternative date or apply for a refund. The airline reminded passengers travelling from any other country, but with a final destination of Saudi Arabia, that they will not be accepted for boarding at their point of origin until further notice.
Beyond the flight suspension, the kingdom has announced that it has suspended all travel to these 14 countries for all Saudi citizens and residents.
Etihad said it is working with impacted travellers to re-book or refund tickets to Saudi Arabia. The airline operates up to 12 flights per day between Abu Dhabi and the kingdom. Four Etihad flights that were en-route to Saudi Arabia when the decision was made to suspend flights landed in the kingdom.
Nationals of Saudi Arabia were permitted to disembark at Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam, but all other passengers remained on the aircraft to return to Abu Dhabi.
The fourth flight operational at the time of the suspension was announced operated to Medina to repatriate Umrah passengers from Saudi to the UAE.
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