Saudia trying to increase flights to carry expatriate Bangladeshis back to KSA
_A Monitor Report01 Sep, 2020 | 629 Views|-+
Dhaka : Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is making sincere efforts to increase flights between KSA and Dhaka, to carry expatriate Bangladeshis back to their works. The airline is trying to increase the flight frequency to 10 weekly to meet the rising demand of stranded returnees. The operation of Saudia remained suspended for several months due to situation created by COVID-19 Pandemic.
This was disclosed by Tariki Alowaidi, Country Manager of Saudia in Bangladesh while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor. The airline is currently operating two weekly scheduled passenger flights and some extra sections to and from Dhaka. "We will continue this twice-weekly service till October. But we are planning to increase the number of flights to 10 weekly," Tariki Alowaidi said.
Alowaidi also informed that the Saudi embassy in Dhaka has started renewing visas from Sept 27 through its approved visa processing agents. To transport more passengers, Saudia is operating charter flights too, he said, adding, "We have applied for five charter flights. For charter flights, there is no seat limitation."
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is also resuming flights to the kingdom from October 1. "As soon as Saudia and other airlines begin increasing flight capacity to the Kingdom, there will be more stability in the market," said Alowaidi.
About allegation of charging extra fees from the returnees, Alowaidi termed it as baseless. "We are providing services to returnees with no additional charges and no reissuance fees. Saudia is maintaining published fairs when travel agencies are selling though GDS."
He held certain travel agents responsible for unfortunate misuse of selling tickets. "Investigation is in place and I urge upon the authorities to take strict actions against such bad market practice."
Following Saudi's partial lifting of travel ban, the Kingdom is now allowing those with valid visas to return back, given that they have had PCR tests within 48 hours.
Alowaidi further mentioned that Saudi government has also announced resumption of Umrah gradually in phases. "If any pilgrim wants to attend Umrah, he will have to register online." On a more positive note, Saudi Arabia has also declared that the kingdom will lift all COVID-19 related travel restrictions by January 1, 2021.