Cairo: The first flight from Saudi Arabia in more than three years arrived in Qatar on Monday night, as the two neighbouring countries resumed air traffic between them after a historic Gulf reconciliation summit.
A plane of the Saudi national airline Saudia landed at the Hamad International Airport on Monday night. Qatar Airways posted online pictures showing warm welcome to passengers upon their arrival in Doha. The plane had flown from Riyadh to Doha.
Saudia also said it will operate Doha-bound flights from the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
Earlier Monday, a Qatar Airways flight arrived in Riyadh, marking the first flight from Doha since June 2017. Around 169 passengers were aboard the flight that landed at the King Khalid International Airport, according to the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation.
The restart of flights between the two Gulf countries has meant a lot for families on both sides of the border.
“My sister has been (in Qatar) for about four years. We communicate on WhatsApp ... My feelings - me and every Gulf citizen - are indescribable,” Khalid al-Qahtani said as he waited in the arrivals hall at the airport in Riyadh for his sister.
Other relatives from other families eagerly waited for their loved ones to get off the first flight from Doha.
“Thank God ... thank God,” said grinning schoolboy Khalid al-Harji at the King Khalid airport, soon after arriving from Doha and meeting his uncle and cousin, Reuters reported.
“Qatar and us, we share many things: politically, economically, socially, geographically. There are relations, blood between us,” Bandar al-Qahtani said as he waited to welcome his aunt.
The Qatari airline has said it will also operate a flight to Jeddah on Thursday and a flight to Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Last week, Saudi Arabia hosted a landmark summit of the GCC leaders who pledged to jointly consolidate their 40-year-old grouping.