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.


Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

Updated 8 min 36 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia plans to create 561,000 jobs under new digital employment initiative

  • Qiwa program aims to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing unemployment rate to 7 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has revealed ambitious plans to create more than 561,000 private-sector jobs by 2023 as part of a new digital era for the Kingdom’s labor market.

Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi made the announcement at the launch of the Qiwa online platform, which aims to combine all the country’s employment services under one electronic roof.

Through digitalization, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development hopes to not only boost job opportunities for Saudi men and women, but also improve workplace efficiency and productivity, and attract international investment.

Al-Rajhi said: “The ministry has entered into partnerships and agreements to settle more than 561,000 job opportunities in the private sector until 2023,” and the minister added that 45,000 Saudis had entered the labor market in the last three months.

The new labor force platform will consolidate employment-related e-services already offered to job seekers, employees and employers and plans are in the pipeline to plug a further 71 services into the system.

The Qiwa program aims to provide Saudi government officials with a data mine of statistical information to tackle business challenges facing employers and employees, help create new job opportunities, and achieve the Vision 2030 goal of reducing the country’s unemployment rate to 7 percent. Another key objective is to strategically enhance the Kingdom’s business environment to make it more attractive to local and international investors.

A ministry statement issued to Arab News, said: “The Qiwa platform will have an impact on motivating investors. It will also re-engineer policies and procedures for all services provided to individuals and enterprises on a strong platform that will make a quantum leap in the business world and turn the Saudi market into an attractive market for opportunities and potential for competencies.

“The services are provided in both Arabic and English in order to enable foreign investors to benefit from the services of a strong platform,” the statement added.

The e-services include programs to encourage Saudis to access jobs in their locality by improving the workplace environment and making it more appealing to men and women.

The Kingdom’s public sector is quickly adapting to international standards and labor market demands by digitalizing services, while the ministry is using the latest business management methods to help public organizations increase the competency and productivity of workers while creating a competitive labor market that can partner with the private sector.