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Saudia Requests to Enter Qatari Skies to Transport Pilgrims | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Saudia, also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, plane lands at Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon June 29, 2017. Reuters

Riyadh- Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has allocated seven flights on board Boeing 777-300s to transport Qatari pilgrims from Doha to Jeddah, as an implementation of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and in coordination with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

GACA President Abdul Hakim al-Tamimi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that there is an ongoing coordination between the authority and Saudia to implement these directives.

He noted that Saudia will request permits from Doha to fly in Qatari skies and transport Qatari pilgrims.

The Director General of Air Transport at GACA Muhammad al-Otaibi said that Saudia is preparing to operate the specified flights after applying for the necessary permits from the Qatari authorities, adding it has not received the permits so far.

Since the beginning of the four-state boycott in June, national airlines of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt abandoned the Qatari skies while the Qatari airlines and registered companies were banned from flying in these states’ skies.

Following a mediation by Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah bin Jassim al-Thani during his meeting with Vice-Custodian of Two Holy Mosques Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah on Wednesday, directives were issued by King Salman to permit all Qatari citizens wishing to perform the Hajj rituals to pass through Salwa border crossing without electronic permits.

Tamimi instructed the directors of Dammam and Al-Ahsa airports to provide the best services to the Qatari pilgrims, expressing gratitude to the Saudi leadership for overcoming the obstacles.