Saudi Arabia opens international flights from May 17


International flights will resume on May 17 after they have been earlier suspended due to coronavirus travel restrictions, Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority said in a circular.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation confirmed the date in a statement it sent out to local airports, that all international flights and airports will resume regular operations in May instead of March 31, as earlier announced in January.

The authority said they may continue suspending travel to specific countries where the coronavirus pandemic situation remains bad.

Meanwhile, Saudi domestic airlines are seeing a quicker recovery in routes within the Kingdom than larger regional rivals relying on pandemic-paralyzed long-haul travel.

The CAPA Live aviation industry event on March 10 heard that the Kingdom’s domestic airline sector was recovering strongly in sharp contrast to most of its neighbors.

The Middle East has been particularly hard hit by the global aviation slowdown because of its comparatively under-developed domestic market.
“The domestic recovery in Saudi Arabia is already showing positive signs, in frequency terms at least,” said CAPA analyst Richard Maslen.

Weekly domestic flights in the Kingdom have grown to about 3,000, according to CAPA data.

That represents a decline of just 23 percent over the first two months of the year compared with the same period a year ago before COVID-19 restrictions hit.


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