Zanzibar has requested Saudi Arabian government to consider introducing direct flight from Riyadh to the Isles.
Zanzibar State Minister, Office of the President (Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service and Good Governance) Mr Haroun Ali Suleiman said that having a direct flight from the country to Zanzibar will be a big opportunity to boost trade and strengthen relations.
The move, Mr Suleiman said will also ease transporting pilgrims to and from Mecca.
He explained this when he welcomed the Acting Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Fahad Al Harb, who paid him a visit at his office in Mazizini. The visit aimed at developing cooperation between the two countries.
Mr Suleiman pointed out the Saudi Arabia airline direct is much needed, especially during pilgrimages to ease transportation to people wishing to perform the holy journey.
“We can prepare in advance effective strategies for the transportation of pilgrims and other citizens. This will to a greater extent help to minimise inconvenience to travellers from Tanzania to Mecca,” he said.
Minister Suleiman explained that most of the Tanzanian pilgrims going to Mecca are from Zanzibar, where this year a total of 2,500 pilgrims out of more than 3,000 who travelled were from Zanzibar, necessitating a direct flight.
“Normally, when pilgrims and citizens book to Saudi Arabia they have to go to Dar es Salaam. It is high time we have a direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Zanzibar. This will make it easier for our travellers to end connecting multiple flights through Qatar-Doha to Oman- Muscat and other places,” he said.
He said that the request has already been submitted to the respect ministry of the Saudi Arabia government. “We are looking forward for positive response,” said Minister Suleiman.
The Acting Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Tanzania Sheikh Fahad Al Harb said their government will continue to cooperate with Zanzibar in supporting various sectors including health and education.
“We will continue collaboration for the interests of Saudis and Zanzibar citizens,” the envoy said.
In a related development, Amb Al Harb handed over more than one thousand Dates to the Zanzibar government to distributed to vulnerable groups.