Saudis leaving for Ramadan?

With Ramadan starting on the evening of July 31, it seems that many Saudis are leaving Geneva around now.

The start of Ramadan may vary slightly from country to country: it is the start of a lunar month, but the moonrise may vary by 24 hours according to the longitude of a country. Many countries will this year consider it as starting on the eve of July 31, lasting until 30 August.

It is certain that visitors from the Middle East, in particular from Saudi Arabia, will be returning to their homeland before the end of July. An examination of the flights seen at the airport over the last few days seem to confirm that this is already happening.

Members of the Saudi Royal Family are believed often to travel in the beautiful Boeing 747SP aircraft registered as HZ-AIF. This aircraft landed in Geneva twice on 15 July, then came back yesterday, Sunday 24 July. It seems quite probable that it would have come here to repatriate some Saudis who have been here for a shorter time than usual. If so, they would have had experienced poor weather, but they might possibly have appreciated the cool conditions. I doubt that they would have been at Paléo, though!

A more curious happening, however, is the Boeing 777-200 registered as N777AS (a United States registration), which came here last Friday, left on Saturday late afternoon and then came back later that same afternoon: much too short to have gone to Saudi Arabia.. It is believed to belong to a Jeddah-based charter airline called Mid East Jet, a company which may specialise in private VIP flights. The flights of this aircraft often use the unidentifiable callsign "00000000", from which one might suppose that its passengers require a certain amount of anonymity.

It seems highly probable that this Mid East Jet aircraft will leave in the next day or two, and we might possibly see other special flights from and to such states as Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

Given the current strong Swiss Franc, this might mean that August will be a cruel month for hotels in Switzerland.


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