The Saudi airlines flight returning from Ethiopia had to circle over the airport for over 20 minutes before it was cleared for landing. The reason stated for the delay was lack of a landing slot at the airport.
The flight, which was returning empty from Addis Ababa after transporting Ethiopian expats from Saudi Arabia, was specially chartered for mass deportation. So, when the aircraft crew contacted the air traffic control in Riyadh airport for landing, they were informed that there was no slot for the flight. The aircraft was redirect to land in Dammam or Jeddah airport.
The captain went on to inform that the flight was chartered to transport deported Ethiopians from Riyadh the following day and that it had to land in Riyadh itself. It was only after the Emir of Riyadh got involved in the issue that the plane was given the permission to land in Riyadh Airport, Sabq news reported. Some sources pointed out that the airport was busy because of the peak timing that too, during the weekend.
King Khaled International Airport, the international terminus for Saudi’s capital city is undergoing major expansion works. The flight capacity is slated to increase by 10 folds in order to accommodate more flights, especially during peak hours.