Saudi Arabia must speed up return of air travelGulf News
While neighbouring UAE is open for business, the drawbridge to Saudi Arabia remains up with an aviation industry still reeling from the impact of the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia’s total seat capacity outlook for 2020 was expected to be nearly 145 million seats. Cancellations in flight schedules between February and April have already hampered this forecast.
By the end of this year, a capacity loss of 25 per cent in Saudi Arabia is forecasted. In a worst-case scenario, the impact could be as high as 35 per cent, leaving Saudi’s carriers dealing with an increasing level of complexity in their networks, since many governments are still getting to grips with their COVID-19 strategies related to international travel.
The Kingdom is planning to lift all travel restrictions on air, land and sea transport for citizens in January 2021. Before the pandemic, Saudi Arabia was moving at full speed and achieving tangible results in modernisation, infrastructure development and economic growth. In alignment wit Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia was witnessing a sharp increase in tourism as it has been working towards revamping its tourism and entertainment offerings by promoting its stunning coastline and UNESCO heritage sites.