Updated 21 January 2022
Saudia (الخطوط السعودية), the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia and also known as Saudi Airlines, is a distinguished global airline based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As the third-largest airline in the Middle East, with its modernised fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft, Saudia flies passengers to several destinations across the globe, with the highest standards of class and safety.
However, as the pandemic progresses, Saudi Airlines has been susceptible to quickly changing travel policies and flight schedules that one must be aware of while flying with the airline. We scoured the net and discovered some of the most popular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Saudi Airlines.
Is it Saudia or Saudi?
Saudia, established in 1945, was previously known as Saudi Arabian Airlines. In May 2012, after joining the SkyTeam global alliance, the airline rebranded itself to Saudia. Saudia is also known as Saudi Airlines.
Due to COVID-19, Saudia operates everyday flights with the highest level of caution while advising passengers to adhere to the strict safety measures in place. Deep-cleaning sanitization protocols are in full effect after every flight.
How good is Saudia ?
Saudi Airlines has been the proud recipient of numerous awards over the years due to its excellence in customer satisfaction and comfort flying. Its latest award includes the “Five Star Global Airlines” award in the year 2020, presented by APEX, one of the world’s largest international airline associations. It is a certified 4-Star Airline for the quality of its airport and onboard product and staff service by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax.
Saudia places the safety of its guests and crew as its highest priority and applies world-class standards and procedures to ensure flights are safe and comfortable. Since January 2020, all aircrafts have been undergoing full inspection when arriving from several international destinations. And upon their arrival, they are subject to sterilisation, careful disinfection and thorough deep cleaning. As an added precaution, screening all frontline staff and cabin crew members for pre-flight, pre-arrival, during, and post-arrival is being implemented.
When will flights open in Saudi Arabia?
Domestic flights have resumed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia starting 31 May 2020. Limited international flights were permitted starting February 2021. The Kingdom officially allowed international tourists to enter in August 2021.
Flights to and from Saudi Arabia are now open to only fully vaccinated travellers. As per the latest travel guidelines, the following categories are exempted:
- Children under the age of (12) twelve years provided that they obtain a valid health insurance policy approved by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to cover the risks of COVID-19.
- Individuals whose status in Tawakkalna appear (Exempted) from COVID-19 vaccine are to be treated equally as those whose status in Tawakkalna appear as IMMUNE.
In addition to being fully vaccinated:
- Passengers traveling from Saudi Arabia’s airports must present the Tawakkalna App, which shows the state of health. This will be a condition for entering Saudi Arabia’s airports, issuing boarding passes, and boarding the aircraft, according to the rules and regulations of the General Authority of Civil Aviation.
- All travellers must be wearing masks in all places, including open areas.
- Guests must check their eligibility for travel by the concerned countries and obtain the required permits and/or permissions if needed.
When will Saudi Arabia open international flights?
The Kingdom officially lifted its suspension on citizens traveling abroad and opened its land, sea, and air borders on May 2021. Saudi Arabia opened its borders for international flights and tourists in August 2021.
Saudia’s international flights are fully functional and are subject to change according to the changing travel scenarios and restrictions imposed by governments. Saudi Airlines covers several destinations worldwide. However, the frequency of flights available hasn’t completely returned to pre-COVID trends.
When will Saudi Airlines be open?
Domestic flights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have resumed from 31 May 2020. Saudia has also lifted the earlier suspension of international flight operations to and from Saudi Arabia on 24 February 2021.
This means that most of Saudi Airlines’ international and domestic flight operations are available for passengers, on condition that they adhere to the entry and exit restrictions placed by their destination countries and Saudi Arabia. As of now, only vaccinated travellers, unless exempt, can travel abroad and take domestic flights in the KSA.
Are Saudi flights open from India?
Following the establishment of the air bubble arrangement between the KSA and India, a limited number of flights flying from different locations in India to Saudi Arabia are open to passengers.
While travelling from India to Saudi Arabia:
- All travellers must register their details, including comprehensive vaccination information, on the Muqeem online portal (electronic registration of the vaccine) no less than 72 hours before flying to the Kingdom.
- Have a negative PCR test certificate issued from a verified laboratory that does not exceed 72 hours prior to departure.
- Non-vaccinated travellers will be subject to 5 days of quarantine. Fully vaccinated travellers are exempt from quarantine.
Will more Saudi flights resume soon?
Most Saudi flights have resumed most of their normal operations on both international and domestic destinations.
However, following the outbreak of Omicron, Saudi Arabia has suspended flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius, Union of Comoros and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Anyone who has spent 14 days or more in these countries, unless exempt, will be barred from entering the Kingdom.