Thousands of Saudis flown out of Egypt

“An additional few hundred are expected to be flown within a
day or two,” said Waleed Al-Olumi, a spokesman for Saudi Arabian Airlines,
which alone has operated 62 flights to evacuate Saudi citizens from different
Egyptian cities so far.
Al-Olumi said that “the rescue flights carrying Saudi
nationals were landing on five airports — Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah and
Abha — on a round-the-clock basis.” About 700,000 Saudi nationals,
including businessmen and tourists, were believed to be in Egypt when the civil
unrest started, prompting officials to chalk out a massive plan for their safe
However, many Saudis are still opting to remain in Egypt and
watch the situation unfold before deciding to return. These individuals include
businessmen who have invested in the country, mainly in the real estate,
tourism and industry. A total of 85 flights “airlifted 22,000 people,” said
Ibrahim bin Hamad Al-Hamid, an official in the Saudi Embassy in Cairo.
Al-Hamid said in a press statement that the flight
frequencies were increased to accommodate as many Saudi evacuees as possible
following instructions from the Saudi government. He said that the Saudi
Embassy in Cairo had been reinforced to cope with workload, while its consular
section is fully geared to help Saudis in distress. He said that eight extra
flights were being operated on a daily basis besides the regular flights.
Referring to stranded Saudi nationals who were rescued free
of charge by the national carrier, Al-Olumi said that Saudia had been able to
operate 49 flights from Cairo, where the number of Saudi returnees have been
growing during the past few days. It also flew 11 rescue flights from
Alexandria and two from Sharm El-Sheikh.
Asked about chaotic conditions and shortage of passport
officials at Cairo airport, Nabil Bakr Omara, a spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy
in Riyadh, said that “Saudi nationals have no problems as such.”
According to one estimate, some 500,000 Saudis live in Egypt
permanently, and about 400,000 Saudi tourists visit Egypt each year. The Saudi
Embassy in Egypt has announced that Saudis seeking help from the embassy or
planning to return home can call 00202-3749-0775 or 3762-5000. Saudi students
can contact the cultural attaché at the embassy on 00202-3336-0612.

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