Biman Bangladesh Airlines announced the suspension of its all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for five days, from May 20 to May 24, 2021, on Thursday.
The decision was made amid the new conditions on international travellers, including mandatory quarantine at hotels spending own money, imposed by Saudi authorities, Biman Bangladesh Airlines said in a release.All Saudi-bound passengers have been requested to contact the nearest office of Biman to know about their new flight schedule.
Some of the Saudi-bound passengers, including the expatriate workers, have said that they are pushed into an uncertain situation due to the decision.
According to manpower recruiters, additional Tk 40,000-70,000 will be needed for availing quarantine facilities for each of the workers to Saudi Arabia from now on.
Airlines will take the rent of hotels with ticket fares. Therefore, the cost of tickets will increase further. Currently, the price of each air ticket is varying from Tk 70,000 to 80,000.
Many of the Saudi-bound expatriate workers came to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Thursday to catch their prescheduled flight to the Gulf state as they did not know about the decision.
“I came to Dhaka early in the morning from Nilphamari. My flight was scheduled at 11:00am. I needed to spend money for hiring transport but I came to know about the decision of suspension of flight in the morning,” said Joynal Abedin Manik, a Saudi-bound worker.The KSA bound passengers also rushed to Saudi Airlines office in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar to know about their flights on the day.
They heard that the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority has asked the airlines not to issue boarding pass for Saudi bound passengers if they do not book hotel rooms and have valid health insurance policy covering COVID-19 before and upon arrival in the Kingdom.
It is mentionable that according to the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority, unvaccinated individuals must undergo a seven-day institutional quarantine at their own expense at the hotels approved by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and take the PCR test on the first and seventh day of quarantine.
However, quarantine will not be applicable to immunized individuals. They need to submit an official vaccination certificate before and upon their arrival.
Individuals who received the vaccine less than 14 days before their arrival will still need to quarantine.