International flights: Indian airline Air India Express said that Saudi Arabia has permitted outbound passenger flights to India under the Vande Bharat mission. This comes after Saudi Arabia on Tuesday banned flights to and from India amid spike in coronavirus cases.Also Read - UAE Shoots Down 2 Ballistic Missiles Fired by Houthis Over Abu Dhabi; Ministry Shares Video | WATCH
However, the Indian airline on Wednesday night, in a tweet, said, “Air India Express clarified it would not carry passengers from India to Saudi Arabia.” Also Read - Yemen Suffers Nationwide Internet Outage After Saudi-Led Airstrikes Target Hodeida City: Report
“Air India Express Vande Bharat Mission flights would continue to carry passengers on its flights from Saudi Arabia to India,” it added. Also Read - 5G Deployment: Air India to Commence Normal Operations to US From Friday. Details Here
In a circular issued on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said it was “suspending travel to and from the following countries: (India, Brazil and Argentina) including any person who has been in any of the mentioned countries above in the last 14 days prior to their arrival to the Kingdom”. However, it excluded passengers who have official government invitations.
The GACA circular — titled: ‘Suspension of travel to countries where the COVID-19 virus has outbreak’ — was marked to all the airlines and chartered flight companies operating at the Saudi Arabia’s airports. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) host a significant Indian migrant population.
Five days ago, Air India Express said that the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) had suspended its flights for 24 hours for bringing two passengers with COVID-19 positive certificates on August 28 and September 4.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23 due to the outbreak. However, special international flights have been operating between India and Saudi Arabia since May 6 under the Vande Bharat mission.
(With agency inputs)