On Sunday, Pakistan International Airline (PIA) announced recommencement of its regular passenger flights to Saudi Arabia which were otherwise suspended amid Saudi Arabia’s ban on all flights in and out of the Kingdom. This was announced after Saudi Arabia lifted its travel ban on Sunday.
According to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation’s (SGACA) latest notice, the Kingdom has now lifted its travel ban on international flights to the country. However, it has presented strict requirements that need to be fulfilled before entering the country.
According to officials, passengers from countries where the new variant of Covid-19 has spread, such as the United Kingdom, South Africa, and others, must spend 14 days in a country where the new variant has not been reported, before entering Saudi Arabia.
Passengers must also take a PCR test at the end of that 14 days period and should test negative.
The passengers whose flights were already booked with PIA are requested to go to their nearest PIA offices to reactivate their flight bookings, said PIA’s spokesperson. Those who want to travel to the Kingdom must do the same or contact PIA’s call centers.
Those wanting to travel to Saudi Arabia must get tested only at facilities the Saudi government has approved, add the spokesperson.
In late December, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) had allowed foreign airlines to operate in the country and non-Saudis to return to their country of origin.
Post GACA’s decision, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) had decided to recommence its commercial flights to Saudi Arabia so that stranded Pakistanis can be brought back, informed PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez.
The airline had decided to carry cargo from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. Despite realizing how much of a financial load one-way operations of flights would be, PIA is determined to bring Pakistanis back to their homeland, Abdullah Hafeez added.
Relevant departments were instructed to put out inexpensive cargo rates, by PIA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad Malik. The airline believed it was its national responsibility to bring Pakistanis back since PIA has always been one step ahead amid difficult times, the CEO added.