New Covid strain: Emirates, Etihad suspend flights after Saudi closes borders

Dubai - Saudi Arabia has suspended all international commercial flights over a new, more infectious Covid-19 strain.

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Published: Mon 21 Dec 2020, 11:44 AM

Last updated: Mon 21 Dec 2020, 12:25 PM

UAE airlines Emirates, Etihad and Air Arabia have suspended flights to Saudi Arabia "until further notice". This comes as Saudi Arabia suspended late on Sunday all international commercial flights for a renewable week, over to a new, more infectious Covid-19 strain.

Dubai-based Emirates posted on its website: "Due to the closure of borders as directed by the Saudi authorities, Emirates will be suspending flights to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until further notice.

"We regret any inconvenience caused, affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options."

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, too, has suspended flights "temporarily ... until further notice".

A spokesperson said: “With immediate effect, Etihad Airways will temporarily suspend its passenger services between Abu Dhabi and all destinations in Saudi Arabia until further notice, based on the directives of the Saudi authorities to limit the spread of Covid-19.

"The safety of its customers and crew is Etihad's highest priority and we regret any inconvenience the suspension may cause."

The Saudi move is in response to the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 in number of countries.

Countries around the world have begun banning flights and travellers from Britain as London said the spread of a more-infectious new coronavirus strain was “out of control”.

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