Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia resumes international flights
'Exceptional categories' allowed to travel in or out of Kingdom, with full lifting of restrictions scheduled for January 1.
International flights resumed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, as confirmed by Saudi Gazette.
The newspaper said this follows the decision of the Saudi authorities to exempt certain categories of Saudis and expatriates from the temporary travel ban imposed since March as part of precautionary measures curb the spread of Covid-19.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation said in a statement that all the international airports in the Kingdom are ready to operate flights during this phase in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other government agencies. The GACA said that all the passengers returning to the Kingdom must remain in home quarantine for three days and they should undergo another PCR test for the virus 48 hours after entering the Kingdom to confirm that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
The authority said that it would update guidelines for passengers in line with the approved health protocols.
In a circular sent to travel agencies and airline companies in the Kingdom on Tuesday, the GACA informed that the airlines are allowed to transport GCC citizens as well as non-Saudi passengers holding a valid visa, including exit and re-entry, residency permit (iqama), and visit visas to and from the Kingdom.
The authority insists that passengers are not allowed to board a flight unless they provide a coronavirus negative medical (PCR) test result from an authorised laboratory in their respective country carried out not later than 48 hours before their arrival in the Kingdom.
The entry and exit of the passengers in the Kingdom will be in compliance with Covid-19 health precautionary measures and preventive protocols issued by the Ministry of Health.It was stated in the circular that passengers shall not violate any conditions or requirements related to banning or restrictions on travel for reasons that are not pertaining to preventing the spread of the pandemic.
It is also confirmed that these concessions for travel do not apply to countries to where travel suspension would continue as a result of the seriousness of the coronavirus situation, a decision about which would be taken by the competent authorities in the Kingdom.
The GACA warned that penalties will be imposed in accordance with Article 163 of the Civil Aviation Law against those who fail to comply with the regulations. The specific date for the total lifting of the travel suspension for international flights will be announced 30 days before January 1, 2021, the authority added.
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