Jeddah international airport to open in May 2018

Updated 28 December 2017
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Jeddah international airport to open in May 2018

JEDDAH: The head of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), Abdul Hakim Al-Tamimi, has announced that the initial opening and pilot operations of the new King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah will be in May 2018.
The announcement came on the sidelines of the Reconstruction of Makkah Region Conference on Wednesday.
“Air transport is the preferred method for pilgrims of Umrah and Hajj, both from inside and outside the Kingdom. The number of Hajj pilgrims arriving by air in 2017 reached 1,648,906, while the number of Umrah pilgrims arriving by air in 2017 reached 5,664208,” Al-Tamimi said.
He said that the King Abdul Aziz International Airport was a mega project as it “includes 810,000 square meters of terminals. It also includes 200 counters designed for completion of travel procedures and 80 self-service counters as well. The number of aircraft that can be received simultaneously is 70 connected to the terminal as well as 28 aircraft on the tarmac.”
During his speech, the GACA president stressed the importance of the new Taif International Airport, which will support the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.
“The GACA has assigned the new Taif (International) Airport to the private sector. The new airport will provide convenience for visitors, and Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. The airport is expected to open in December 2020,” Al-Tamimi said.
He also referred to the GACA agreement with the new developer of Taif International Airport to develop the existing terminals to accommodate pilgrims of Hajj and Umrah.
“The coming season will see a larger number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims coming to the Kingdom through Taif International Airport,” Al-Tamimi said.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.