The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the global aviation sector quite adversely and after nearly six months of lockdown, Saudi Arabia has lifted some of its international flight restrictions from September 15.
The kingdom will end all restrictions on air, land and sea transport for Saudi citizens after January 1, next year, the interior ministry announced, adding that an exact date will be announced in December.
Gulf citizens and non-Saudis with valid residency permits or visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom as long as they test negative for the COVID-19 checks and tests. Exceptions would be allowed for several people like government officials, military employees, embassy workers, students and people requiring medical treatment, will be allowed to enter and exit the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia had suspended international flights in March, leaving many citizens and residents stranded overseas. Resuming flights and international borders, these people will be brought back into the country gradually.
The kingdom also organised a scaled-down hajj in late July, with only up to 10,000 Muslims taking part in the annual pilgrimage, a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated last year. Gradually provisions are being made to organise and allow people for the Umrah pilgrimage.