Updated 24 February 2022
International travel between Saudi Arabia and India for the last 15 months has been nothing short of problematic. With the absence of direct flights between the two countries due to the flight suspension, inbound travellers to Saudi Arabia have been forced to spend some time in third countries before being allowed entry.
In a piece of welcome news, the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia has just announced the signing of an agreement to launch an air travel bubble between the two countries. The establishment of the air bubble means direct flights from and to the countries will soon be reinstated by major airlines the likes of Saudia (الخطوط السعودية) and Air India among others.
Here’s what we know so far about the planned Saudi – India bubble.
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When will the Saudi – India bubble take effect?
According to a tweet made by the Indian embassy in Riyadh, the planned air bubble arrangement has already come into effect from 1 January 2022.
As per India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, there are currently 36 countries with air bubble arrangements in place with India as follows:
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
Who is eligible for the air bubble arrangement?
The air bubble arrangement will be available for the following.
India to Saudi Arabia
- Nationals or residents of Saudi Arabia
- Any Indian national or national of Nepal or Bhutan holding a valid visa of Saudi Arabia and destined for Saudi Arabia only. It would be for the airlines concerned to ensure that there is no travel restriction for Indian/Nepalese/Bhutanese nationals to enter Saudi Arabia before issue of ticket/boarding pass to the Indian/Nepalese /Bhutanese passenger.
Check out our article to find out about Saudi Arabia’s entry requirements for Indian travellers.
India to Saudi Arabia flights
Air India, Saudi Airlines, Spicejet all serve regular flights from Indian cities to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia to India
- Indian nationals or nationals of Nepal or Bhutan in Saudi Arabia and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders holding passports of any country.
- The airlines concerned will ensure that there is no travel restriction for non-Indian nationals to enter India with a particular visa category before issuing of ticket/boarding pass to the passenger, and Saudi Arabian nationals (including diplomats) holding a valid Indian visa can also travel as per guidelines.
Check out our article to find out about India entry requirements for Saudi travellers.
Saudi Arabia to India flights
Flights serving Riyadh to Mumbai, Jeddah to Mumbai, and other prominent Indian cities are available for booking now, both with and without stopovers. Prices start from INR 1100 at the time of writing.