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Etihad suspends flights as Saudi Arabia partially closes borders

Etihad suspends flights as Saudi Arabia partially closes borders

Etihad Airways has temporarily suspended all flights between Abu Dhabi and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The decision comes in response to a directive from the general authority for civil aviation in Saudi Arabia to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Saudi government has temporarily banned citizens and foreigners living in Saudi Arabia from travelling to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq.

Arrivals from these countries and those who have been there in the last 14 days have been temporarily barred from entering the country.

Saudi Arabia has also stopped flights and ships from these countries.


Etihad operates up to 12 flights per day between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

The national airline of the United Arab Emirates has cancelled a total of seven flights today between Abu Dhabi and the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina.

Another four flights which were en-route to Saudi Arabia at the time of the directive were permitted to land.

When flights arrived in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, nationals of Saudi Arabi were permitted to disembark but all other passengers remained on the aircraft which will now return to Abu Dhabi.

The fourth flight operated to Medina to repatriate Umrah passengers. 

In addition to the flight suspensions to and from the UAE, Saudi Arabia has also banned Saudi nationals and Saudi residents from travelling to countries including the UAE and on passengers travelling from or transiting through Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Italy, Egypt and Korea. 

For passengers impacted by the flight cancellations, procedures are in place for fare refunds or for flight changes when services resume.