Saudi Arabia opens airports at full capacity after sharp drop in coronavirus cases

Saudi Arabia opens airports at full capacity after sharp drop in coronavirus cases
Saudi Arabia has reopened its airports at full capacity as the country begins to return to 'normal' following the coronavirus pandemic.
2 min read
18 October, 2021
Saudi airports will operate at full capacity since the coronavirus pandemic began last year [Getty]

Saudi Arabia's airports are now able to operate at full capacity for international and domestic flights in a move towards normality after months of tight measures due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

A circular distributed to all airlines operating in Saudi airports, including private carriers, outlined that the new instruction would be effective on Sunday, the kingdom's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Sunday.

Airports still need to verify passengers' Covid-19 vaccination statuses using the "Tawakkalna" application, the authority said.

"The entire capacity of the kingdom’s airports will be used to operate domestic and international flights with the continuance of verifying immunisation status in the 'Tawakklna' application," the GACA said.

The circular effectively allows Saudi airports to operate at full capacity for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic's spread in 2020.

The kingdom was effectively sealed off to outside visitors during the pandemic.

It has since relaxed other restrictions in response to a sharp decline in Covid-19 cases.

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The kingdom announced on Friday that numerous coronavirus restrictions would be lifted on Sunday, including the requirement to wear masks and socially distance in public spaces.

The country's two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina were also allowed to open at full capacity for those who are fully vaccinated, the Saudi interior ministry said.

Vaccinated Saudis were allowed to leave the kingdom for the first time in over a year last May, as the country eased a ban implemented in March 2020 on international travel aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.

Saudi Arabia is reporting 48 new infections on average each day, which is 1 percent of their peak reported on 19 June, according to Reuters.