In a tweet, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said that they would be halting all international flights for two weeks starting from this Sunday.
“The Kingdom’s government decided to suspend international flights for two weeks (Starting from Sunday March 15th) as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of #CoronaVirus,” the foreign ministry tweeted.
Quoting an Interior Ministry official, the state-backed Saudi Press Agency said the suspension would apply to all cases except “exceptional cases”.
Exceptional flights could include flights such as Emirates’ special service between Dubai and Saudi Arabia. However, this is not confirmed at the time.
The latest decision means that only a few of international flights will continue to operate. Carriers like Saudia and budget carrier flynas will face the direst effects of the decision, which could prompt them to ground aircraft and trim costs.
On the other hand, domestic flights seems to be unaffected. Airlines in Saudi Arabia, and those servicing it, will also see reductions in flights.
The suspension will begin at 11 AM on Sunday, the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 86 cases of the coronavirus but not reported any deaths, according to official health ministry figures.