How Saudi Arabia’s fleet of aircraft provide round the clock security to millions at the Grand Mosque in Makkah

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Pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba during Ramadan (Arab News photos by Ziyad Alarfaj)
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The Grand Mosque in Makkah can be seen with the clock tower in the foreground (Arab News photos by Ziyad Alarfaj)
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Pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba during Ramadan (Arab News photos by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 13 June 2018
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How Saudi Arabia’s fleet of aircraft provide round the clock security to millions at the Grand Mosque in Makkah

  • It runs continuous missions to keep an eye on Makkah’s traffic conditions and the Grand Mosque from the sky
  • Recorded data is transferred directly to the necessary authorities, where procedures are put in place to enhance security and ease traffic

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Interior’s General Security Aviation Command, with its advanced fleet of aircraft, is the main element in the authorities’ security plans for the Grand Mosque this Ramadan. 

It runs continuous missions to keep an eye on Makkah’s traffic conditions and the Grand Mosque from the sky. Arab News accompanied the Security Aviation aircraft in one of the tours above the Grand Mosque and the routes leading to it.

The aircraft took off from the Security Aviation base in Jeddah an hour before sunset and headed toward Makkah, where the aircraft continuously scanned areas of the Grand Mosque, the areas around it and the routes leading to it using latest monitoring gadgets.

Recorded data is transferred directly to the necessary authorities, where procedures are put in place to enhance security and ease traffic. The planes also execute medical evacuation, take part in mock drills and perform security and humanitarian tasks (search, rescue and evacuation).

Security Aviation Commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Al-Bassam said the General Aviation Security Command is working in the Ramadan season according to plan. He said that all services are focused on visitors to the Grand Mosque.

Al-Bassam said they are preparing themselves with each passing day of Ramadan and the increasing number of pilgrims, along with getting ready for the last 10 days of the holy month. Air presence has been intensified, with continuous surveillance and monitoring of the central district and the roads leading to it.


First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

Updated 22 March 2019
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First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

  • Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by Saudi Air Navigation Services

JEDDAH: Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) on Wednesday celebrated the appointment and start of work of the first batch of Saudi female air traffic controllers at an air traffic control center in Jeddah.
Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by SANS in cooperation with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation. This is the first program to qualify women to work as air traffic controllers.
The academy initiative, in collaboration with SANS, seeks to create more jobs for women as part of a reform push to wean the economy off oil. Vision 2030 plan aims to increase employment and diversify revenue sources.
Earlier, SANS CEO Ryyan Tarabzoni said the state-owned company was prioritizing the hiring of women in the profession, as the country pushes to extend women’s rights in the country and also recruit more nationals as part of the “Saudization” project.