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Saudi Arabia suspends int’l flights amid new strain of COVID-19

RIYADH/KARACHI: Saudi Arabia has ‘temporarily’ suspended all international flights for one week amid a new strain of COVID-19 among a number of countries, ARY News reported.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued the new directives to airline operators regarding the suspension of international flight operations, whereas, the country also suspended the entry through the land and seaports for one week.

Following the GACA’s directives, the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced the cancellation of flights to and from Saudi Arabia.

According to the notification issued by GACA which was obtained by ARY News, the country has temporarily suspended all international flights for travellers which could be extended for another week due to the spread of a new strain of COVID-19 among a number of countries.

Read: Countries ban UK flights as Britain says new virus strain ‘out of control’

It read that cargo flights will be excluded from the flights’ suspension order which was taken into effect from December 21 midnight.

The spokesperson of the national carrier, Abdullah Khan, said that PIA flights to and from Saudi Arabia have been cancelled from December 21.

pia flights saudi arabia covid-19 gaca

The cancelled flights of PIA include PK-9739 and PK-9739 from Multan-Jeddah-Lahore, many other flights i.e. Lahore-Jeddah-Lahore,  Islamabad-Dammam-Islamabad, Lahore-Dammam-Lahore, Karachi-Madinah and Madinah-Karachi, Lahore-Madinah, Madinah-Multan and Madinah-Multan, Karachi-Jeddah-Karachi.

Read: Saudi Arabia starts registering people for COVID-19 vaccination

The spokesperson added that the flights will remain suspended till the further orders of the Saudi Arabian aviation authority. After getting permission by GACA, the passengers will be adjusted into flights, he added.

The PIA administration advised passengers to register themselves through the airline’s call centre (111-786-786) with their accurate contact numbers in order to get timely updates.

 

It emerged earlier that Saudi Arabia suspended all international commercial flights on late Sunday for a renewable week except for the foreign flights already in the kingdom which will be allowed to leave, Reuters quoted the state news agency SPA.

The entry to the kingdom through land and seaports will be also suspended for a renewable week, and those measures come after the spread of a new strain of COVID-19 among a number of countries, the report said.

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