Emirates has been able to secure special permission to operate flights between Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

These will take place between 12th and 15th March to enable passengers in either nation to get home.

The news follows the announcement that travel to and from as many as 39 countries, including all countries in the Gulf and the European Union, has been banned by Saudi Arabia in the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have many residents who move between both countries, with 1.6 million tourists from Saudi Arabia visiting the UAE last year.

Some of the most revered sites in Islam are situated in Saudi Arabia, with millions going to Mecca every year.

Given the high level of traffic between the two nations, the decision by Saudi Arabia to ban travel has the potential to leave hundreds of people unable to get home.

The move by Emirates will assist a number of stranded passengers to get back home, with the announcement stating that only Saudi nationals can take the flight to return to their home nation.

G20 permit holders are the only exceptions to this rule, and they can only travel to Riyadh.

However, non-Saudi nationals can still make use of the Dubai flight to Saudi Arabia being operated by Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is one of a number of countries that have extended their travel bans to include more countries.

All visas have been suspended by India, and the US has banned travel to the country from EU nations just in the last two days, in addition to restrictions that were already in place.

The far-reaching move by the Saudi government means that no flights can enter the country from any of the 39 nations listed in the ban, with dozens of airlines now effectively banned.

The only exceptions that have been made are so that nationals can get back home, as is the case with the Emirates flights.

The ban will have an enormous impact on the growing general and religious tourism industry in Saudi Arabia, with new visa rules for as many as 49 countries having been introduced by the Kingdom just last year to attract tourists.

The plan, which was part of its Vision 2030 scheme, was intended to complement the increasing number of religious tourists who visit Saudi Arabia every year.

Saudi Arabia carriers, including low-cost airlines such as flynas, are expected to be severely hit by the new travel restrictions, with some carriers contemplating grounding parts of their fleet in the event that the ban carries on for longer than anticipated.

The special routes introduced by Emirates will be of great help to those passengers who are stranded away from their home countries, but the spread of the virus could see a big impact on the aviation industry in the normally profitable summer months.

Anyone planning to fly in or out of the UAE from any country not yet on the banned list should take out travel insurance that includes medical insurance in the event that they fall sick while away from home.


Write A Comment