Saudi Arabia to start domestic flights from Sunday
Saudi Arabia has announced that domestic flights throughout the kingdom would resume from Sunday. As the COVID-19 crisis eases, the suspension of flights will be lifted in stages to include all domestic destinations within two weeks.
The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said, “We have completed operational preparations to gradually lift the suspension of domestic flights, in order to ensure a safe travel journey for travellers through Saudi airports while taking all necessary health measures.”
The resumption of flights will take place in stages. The first stage includes 11 airports in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Medinah, Qassim, Abha, Tabuk, Jazan, Hail, Bahah, and Najran. In another press release yesterday, GACA added Al-Jouf and Arar airports to the list.
As part of the first phase of the resumption of domestic air travel, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) will operate 60 flights from Sunday. The airline will coordinate with GACA to gradually increase its services in line with the staged recovery plan.
GACA says it will work with airports, airlines, and companies within the civil aviation sector to meet the demand of the local market.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Saudi Arabia had suspended international flights on March 15 and domestic services on March 21.
Last week, GACA chaired a virtual meeting of the Air Transport Committee to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry in the Arab world. The meeting looked at ways to help accelerate the recovery of air transport and restore the confidence of air passengers.
The measures discussed to help airlines included the reduction of air carrier fees, the cancellation of parking fees for grounded aircraft, and the easing of restrictions on the use of cargo planes by airlines. Further measures involved the support of ground handling, catering, and maintenance companies.