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Saudia operates 40-hour flight to and from Los Angeles to repatriate 187 Saudi citizens

Saudia operates 40-hour flight to and from Los Angeles to repatriate 187 Saudi citizens

The kingdom has been bringing back stranded Saudi citizens from around the world

An airline operated by Saudi Airlines undertook a 40-hour journey to and from Los Angeles to repatriate 187 Saudi nationals.

The Boeing 777 flight SV42 took off from Jeddah at 8am on Thursday morning and landed at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh at 9pm on Friday evening, following a 90-minute layover in Jeddah.

The flight covered over 13,400km for 17 hours non-stop on each leg of the journey, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Air crew, including eight pilots and copilots, 43 navigators and 35 flight attendants, worked in shifts during the duration of the journey.

The kingdom has been bringing back stranded Saudi citizens from around the world in line with a directive issued by Saudi King Salman earlier this month.

As part of the first phase, the kingdom is bringing back its citizens from Jakarta, Washington, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius, Muscat, London, Manila, Maldives, Colombo and New York.

Passengers arriving from outside the kingdom have to go through 12 different preventive check-ups for Covid-19 in three stages — before boarding the plane, inside the cabin and upon arrival.

A checkpoint set up by the Ministry of Health has thermal cameras which scans all incoming passengers. Suspicious cases are isolated and transferred to a designated area.

Passengers must sanitise their hands before starting procedures at the passport and customs control area, and a minimum distance of 1.5 metres is maintained between the passenger and passport officer.

After the process is completed, the passengers are taken to buses to transport them to designated guesthouses.

The Ministry of Tourism has allocated over 11,000 rooms across the kingdom to accommodate repatriated individuals for the 14-day isolation period.

Read: Thousands of Saudi nationals repatriated from abroad placed in isolation

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