Monday, July 8, 2013

Saudi Arabia: Airlines face Ramadan rush

9 July 2013 2:12 am As Ramadan begins and with Eid holidays one month away, a large number of foreign workers in the Kingdom are seeking to return home, racing to confirm their bookings and to find seats on air carriers with the most competitive fares.

Many expatriates have canceled plans to spend Ramadan and Eid holidays in the Kingdom, opting to go home for several reasons such as the new Saudi labor law, fear of the MERS coronavirus and the rising costs of living.
Shahid Fareed, manager at Garuda Indonesia airline, said: “We will operate two flights daily during the holy month of Ramadan. All our flights are fully booked. Many people come daily but we cannot accommodate additional reservations.

“We are using two types of aircraft with the capacity to withstand 425 and 325 passengers. We have 14 flights in a week. During the holy month, approximately 24,000 people will fly Garuda to go home.”

Arshad Sheikh, sales promotion officer at Pakistan International Airline (PIA), said: “Hundreds of workers including families are confirming their reservations ahead of the Eid holidays. Families have booked their tickets to spend Ramadan in their hometowns, while bachelors prefer to go home in the last week of the holy month.”
He added: “We are currently operating nine flights and transporting 2,500 passengers in one week. We will run extra flights for Eid and offer a special promotional package, which includes 55 kg baggage, 10 kg Zamzam water and one carry-on at low fare rates compared to last year.”

Sasinath Babu, manager at Turkish Airlines, said: “We have two or three flights in one day, amounting to 17 flights a week. Many families are traveling with us due to school holidays and bachelor workers are also confirming their reservations for Eid.”

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