UAE airlines suspend all flights to Saudi Arabia

Etihad and Emirates cancel scores of flights to Saudi following directive from GACA designed to slow spread of virus
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Etihad, Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia have suspended all flights between the UAE and Saudi Arabia following instructions from the kingdom’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA).

Saudi’s GACA issued a directive suspending flights from multiple countries, including the UAE, to the kingdom in response to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus in the Middle East region.

7,000 cases of the virus have now been confirmed in the Middle East, including 15 in Saudi. Oman is now the only Gulf country Saudi Arabia operates flights to and from.

Etihad operates 12 flights a day between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia and has cancelled all of them.

In addition to the flight suspensions to and from the UAE, Saudi Arabia has also banned Saudi nationals and Saudi residents from travelling to countries including the UAE and on passengers travelling from or transiting through Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Italy, Egypt and Korea.

In a statement, Etihad said it was “working closely with regulatory authorities” and monitoring the situation closely.

The airline said procedures are in place for fare refunds or for flight changes when services resume.

Meanwhile, a statement from Emirates said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have issued a directive, which takes immediate effect, suspending operations from several countries including the UAE to all airports in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in an effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

flydubai said, “Following a directive from the Authorities in Saudi Arabia flydubai flights to and from Saudi Arabia have been cancelled until 12 March.”

Air Arabia has introduce a waiver policy allowing passengers to modify their travel bookings without charge in response to the GACA’s directive.

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