In a major relief to thousands of NRIs and Umrah pilgrims, the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia late on Friday announced the commencement of special direct flights between both India and Saudi Arabia. The agreement will increase direct flight frequencies between Saudi Arabia and India and will bring down the sky-rocketing airfares to some extent.
The Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia took to Twitter and wrote, “Embassy is pleased to announce the air bubble arrangement between India and Saudi Arabia with effect from January 1, 2022.” Under the new air bubble agreement, airlines will now be able to operate direct services between the two countries in compliance with Covid regulations.
Currently, Saudi-bound passengers are flying from and to India through different Gulf countries. Also, special charter flights directly between both countries operate rarely, resulting in travellers facing hardships for nearly 15 months.
Though Saudi Arabia welcomed Umrah pilgrims, due to lack of direct flights between the two countries, tour operators were hesitant to offer any packages anticipating a volatile travel market. The Indian government has been actively pursuing an air bubble agreement with Saudi Arabia for a long time. Indian Ambassador Dr Ausaf Sayeed had been constantly working on the deal which has finally materialised. So far, India has inked air bubble agreements with 35 countries.
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