'We'll be able to carry passengers to Saudi Arabia once...': Hardeep Puri shares update
Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday that India is sending empty flights to Saudi Arabia to bring back its stranded citizens. The Saudis banned banned international flights from 20 countries, including India, last month in an effort to curb the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.
"Our citizens are traveling to & from 27 countries with whom we have air bubble arrangements. Some countries, including Saudi Arabia, have placed entry restrictions on Indian citizens among others. However, VBM flights continue to bring back Indians from Saudi Arabia," Puri said on Twitter.
"Our planes are flying empty to Saudi Arabia & are bringing back our citizens stranded there. We will be able to carry Saudi Arabia bound passengers once the travel restrictions on Indians are eased by Saudi Arabia," he added in subsequent tweet.
A month ago, Saudi Arabia's interior ministry announced a "temporary suspension" on flights from India.
Apart from India, flights were banned from the US, Egypt, Pakistan, Argentina, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Lebanon, UAE and Turkey.
In December and September last year, the country announced similar measures to keep a check on growing number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
It also announced a series of other measures like suspending events and parties, including weddings, corporate meetings in halls, hotels and camps. The maximum number of people allowed in gatherings were also capped at 20.
It has also banned international flights till March 31, according to state news agency SPA.