Saudi Arabia’s resolution to halt all spiritual excursions to the dominion to include the unfold of coronavirus will hit Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet. The three Indian airways together with Saudi Arab Airlines (Saudia) function 98 weekly flights to Jeddah which is the primary gateway for Mecca and Medina. Pilgrims account for over 50 per cent of the visitors between India and Jeddah.
The Saudi authorities on Thursday introduced non permanent suspension of Umrah or spiritual excursions to Mecca and Medina. Additionally, vacationer visa holders from over twenty international locations together with India too won’t be allowed entry in a rare resolution to test the unfold of illness which has spilled out of China to Europe and West Asia. The Saudi order doesn’t prohibit labour and enterprise journey to the nation however airways and journey brokers are searching for additional clarifications from the federal government, it’s learnt.
Saudi Arabia is the second largest air journey marketplace for Indians in West Asia after the UAE and round 5.9 million passengers flew between the 2 international locations in 2019. Jeddah is the biggest vacation spot within the nation for Indians adopted by Riyadh and Dammam.
Air India and Saudia function large physique Airbus and Boeing planes to Jeddah, whereas IndiGo and SpiceJet fly narrow-bodied plane to town. Typically, pilgrims to Mecca and Medina take 14-day group excursions and are issued particular Umrah visas.
“We may have to reduce frequency on Jeddah route following the Saudi government decision. However the decision can not be taken immediately as pilgrims who have already travelled to Saudi Arabia need to return home,” mentioned an Air India govt.
Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet didn’t reply to emails from Business Standard. “The largest demand for Umrah tours is from South India, especially Kerala, and we are already seeing cancellations in our forward bookings for the next few weeks,” mentioned Amey Amladi, chief working officer of Akbar Group.
” All airlines are giving refunds to impacted passengers but there is no clarity on refunds from hotels. Currently 500-600 passengers are traveling daily from Mumbai for Umrah. This is the lean season and the figure will rise to over 1,000 a day during April and May,” mentioned Rizwan Patel, director of Atlas Tours and Travels.