Cairo: A flight carrying 91 passengers left the Saudi Arabia for the Indonesian capital Jakarta as part of an online initiative aimed at facilitating air travel for foreigners wishing to return to their home countries, the Saudi news agency SPA reported Sunday.
The passengers’ procedures were finalised at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh before departure late Saturday, the report said.
Saudi authorities this month allowed all nationalities to register in the Awdah (return) initiative recently launched for foreign residents holding visas of exit and return, final exit, different types of visit and the tourist visas by applying via the electronic platform “Absher” to fly home following approval from their own countries.
Access to the initiative is gained by logging onto the icon “Awdah” on the “Absher” platform and filling the following fields: the Iqama number; the birth date; the mobile number; the departure city; and the arrival airport.
Applicants should not necessarily have an “Absher” account, an exception aimed at facilitating foreign residents to benefit from the service.
A total of 149,671 applications have been registered in “Awdah” over the period from April 22 until Saturday, SPA reported without giving a nationality breakdown.
The initiative is jointly conducted among several Saudi government bodies including the Foreign Ministry, the Haj and Umrah Ministry, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, the National Information Centre, the General Authority of Civil Aviation and the national carrier Saudia as well as security agencies including the General Directorate of Expatriates’ Affairs at the Saudi Interior Ministry.
In March, Saudi Arabia suspended international flights to and from the country as part of strict measures to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.