Saudia (SV, Jeddah) has announced it will terminate its flights to Canada as part of a Saudi government response to what it has termed Canada's meddling in its internal affairs.

According to the carrier, it will end its 4x weekly Riyadh-Toronto Pearson via Jeddah return service effective August 13. Affected customers will be rebooked onto other flights.

The move comes after Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a tweet issued on Friday, August 3, called for the release of seven Saudi civil society activists that had been detained earlier in the week. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs then responded that those arrested had been “lawfully detained,” and accused Canada of “blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs.”

"The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. "It is quite unfortunate to see the phrase 'immediate release' in the Canadian statement, which is a reprehensible and unacceptable use of language between sovereign states."

Riyadh has since escalated its feud with Ottawa by expelling the Canadian ambassador and freezing all new trade and investments in Canada. It has also ordered up to 15,000 Saudi citizens studying in Canada to be moved to programs in other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom.