By Sabria S. Jawhar
The Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH -- SAUDI authorities are planning to use ships and special flights to deport thousands of expatriate overstayers nabbed in the ongoing crackdown on crime in the country, an immigration official said.
Negotiations are being held between the Passports office and Saudia [the national airline] to provide enough seats on its flights and to open new routes for certain destinations so as to hasten the process of deporting the arrested illegals, said Major General Safar Al-Dosary, director of the Passports and Immigration department in the Makkah Region.
He said they will soon meet the director of Saudi Arabian Airlines [Saudia] and the Civil Aviation authorities to discuss the possibility of reserving more seats on Saudia for the deportation.
If Saudia schedules and capacity can t be expanded, he said, the Passports department would sign up foreign airlines for destinations not serviced by Saudia flights or to which the airline has limited flights and hence inadequate seat capacity.