Flight carrying 231 Indian deportees leaves Riyadh

File photo of Saudi Arabian Airlines flight.
File photo of Saudi Arabian Airlines flight.

By Hassan Cheruppa

Saudi Gazette

A Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, carrying 231 deportees on board, left here on Wednesday afternoon for Chennai, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This is the second batch of deportees leaving for India during the current period of temporary suspension of the international flight service following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The repatriation of deportees follows big efforts being made by Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed to resolve the issues of Indians remaining in Saudi deportation centers and that is in coordination with the Saudi authorities and India’s Ministry of External Affairs ever since the suspension of flights in March this year.

As a result of this, the first batch of around 500 deportees was repatriated to the Indian city of Hyderabad in May.

The next flight from Jeddah to the southern city of Kochi is scheduled to depart on Sept. 26 with 351 deportees on board. More flights from Riyadh and Jeddah are currently being worked out and that is strictly in compliance with the health protocols to stem the spread of coronavirus, according to the Embassy sources.

The Indian Mission in Riyadh and Consulate General in Jeddah are in regular touch with the deportation authorities for the travel of the deportees, mainly the released prisoners. Dr. Sayeed appreciated the cooperation extended by Saudi authorities, especially the deportation center officials and the Saudi national carrier, to facilitate sending back of the Indian deportees.

Meanwhile, a group of Indian nationals were stranded at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah following the suspension of the Saudia flight bound for Hyderabad. Passengers and travel agents told Saudi Gazette that they were informed about the cancelation of the flight after completing the check in and immigration clearance procedures on Wednesday morning.

There were 273 passengers who were supposed to fly to Hyderabad on board the flight. After the cancelation of the flight, most of the passengers on reentry visas were allowed to return to their residences while 22 passengers on visit visa and final exit visa had no way to leave the airport. The passengers were informed later that they would be allowed to travel on board the rescheduled flight on Thursday earning morning.