All regular flights suspended between UAE and Saudi Arabia

Etihad Airways has declared that all flights between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be suspended until further notice. Etihad has canceled flights between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia until August 10 to comply with the Saudi government’s most recent request.

On August 2, the airline announced the suspension of flights between the two countries. “Etihad flights between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been banned till “further notice,” they said on their website. It also states, “This is a developing situation, and this deadline may need to be extended following government demands. Etihad is cooperating with impacted travelers to inform them of the itinerary changes.”

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Etihad arriving in Phuket Photo by: Sua Neung

Many passengers must have bought tickets to return from or to their homes. This hasty suspension could generate a bias in the airline’s service and hospitality to passengers. However, Etihad Airways never makes room for their unfavorable attitude with passengers. The airline said it is working closely with impacted passengers to inform them of their schedules’ modifications. Passengers who purchased their tickets through a travel agent should seek assistance from the agency to acquire their tickets.

It came after Saudi Arabia banned people from visiting “red list” nations, including the UAE, due to Covid-19. The suspension was imposed due to the country’s deteriorating COVID situation. The suspension date may be extended following government directives, as there is no certainty that the current state will worsen or improve.

The Saudi Tourism Ministry stated earlier that tourist visa holders would be allowed entrance from August 1, 2021. “Vaccinated travelers with a negative COVID-19 PCR test and a vaccination certificate will be allowed to enter without being institutionally quarantined,” the ministry said.

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According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi government has made COVID-19 vaccination a prerequisite for access into all places, activities, events, government, private facilities, and public transportation as of August 1. Saudi Arabia has imposed strict travel restrictions because of the rapid growth of COVID cases in the nation and the risk of new variants. Saudi Arabia has also set a three-year travel ban and severe fines on people who go to countries on the ‘red list, including India.

Saudi Arabia also declared in July that nationals could only leave the country after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine with two doses.

Saudi Arabia opened its borders to foreign travelers from 49 countries who have received both doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine after an extended closure due to Covid worries. Now, If those travelers from 49 countries submit a vaccine certificate and a negative PCR test before entering the kingdom, these visitors will not be required to quarantine.

Flights between the UAE and the countries on the red list, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, have been halted until August 7 and may be expanded longer based on government directions.  According to travel industry insiders, the restriction could be extended until August 31, as some flights scheduled between August 7 and 12 have already been canceled.

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The UAE entry limitation does not apply to UAE nationals, diplomatic missions, official delegations, or Golden residence holders. Acceptance and quarantine requirements will apply to these travelers. Etihad, which is currently operating regular commercial flights to all four nations, stated that cargo would continue to move normally in both directions.

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