Flying to Saudi Arabia makes Indian airlines’ crew uneasy

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New Delhi: The crew of Indian carriers Air India and Jet Airways are scared to operate in Saudi Arabia. The country keeps the original passport of crew members on arrival and the personnel then have only photocopies of their travel documents during their stay in Saudi. While this practice has always worried pilots and flight attendants, their fears recently became true when the crew of an Air India flight was reportedly detained in Jeddah last Wednesday for this reason.

When asked why they were being detained, the crew says they were told that photocopies of passports won’t do and that original documents should be shown for checking.
A senior pilot of Jet Airways had on June 1 raised the issue of Saudi Arabia keeping passports of airline crew on arrival at immigration with the aviation and external affairs ministry.

“A passport is a citizen’s personal proof of identity and nationality when in a foreign land, without which a persons’ status instantaneously declines to that of a refugee. (Saudi) cannot be allowed to treat its visitors with such disdain. We enter their airspace and country only at their request and permission,” the letter, titled “Passport retention — Saudi Arabia” and sent to the aviation and foreign ministries, says.

Source Credit: The Times of India
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