Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

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A blind Saudi reads in braille a copy of the Quran, Islam's holy book, inside a mosque on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in the coastal town of Qatif, 400 kms east of Riyadh, on May 27, 2017. (AFP)
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Muslim worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 15, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Sign language and Braille Qur’ans to help pilgrims at Two Holy Mosques

  • Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites

MAKKAH: Sign language, Braille Qur’ans and electric wheelchairs are some of the new features in Makkah and Madinah to help pilgrims with disabilities to execute the religious rites of Hajj and Umrah.
An official at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques described those with disabilities as “highly motivated people with special powers” and that services had been established to aid them, providing them with ease and comfort and avoiding complications even during peak times.
Ahmed Al-Burqati, who is tasked with helping people at the presidency, told Arab News there were designated entrances to ease access to prayer areas, including the ones on the ground and first floors of the King Fahd expansion at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Other provisions include a pen that serves as a Qur’an reader, and help for holding and carrying Qur’ans for people unable to hold them. Copies of the Qur’an in Braille along with other religious booklets are available, as are on-site specialists to help pilgrims during prayer times and guide them through the mosque sites, he added.
Ahmed Badawi, an Egyptian pilgrim performing Umrah, said he was not expecting to find such services awaiting him in the Grand Mosque compound.
Other special services at the holy mosques include: Wheelchairs transported in golf carts to prayer areas; designated entrances; sign language interpreters for those with hearing or speech impairments; canes for the blind and visually impaired; and electric wheelchairs to perform key religious rites such as tawaf.


New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

Updated 24 March 2019
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New technologies help increase number of flights, passengers in Saudi Arabia’s airports — GACA

  • More than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018
  • GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh

JEDDAH: New technologies applied in Saudi Arabia's airports has contributed to aviation growth in the Kingdom and has provided solutions for passenger’s trips, air cargo and investments, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has said.

GACA earlier reported an 8 percent increase in passenger numbers and 4 percent in flight rates in 2018.

It said more than 99.86 million passengers departed or arrived through 771,828 flights in the Kingdom's international and domestic airports in 2018, compared to 92.42 million passengers on board 741,293 flights in 2017.

"The GACA is keen to adopt plans to develop the Kingdom's airports network in order to keep pace with the steady increase in air traffic, increase the reliability of services, maximize geographic coverage and enhance the contribution of the airports to the overall economic growth of the country," it said.

For example, it said, GACA provides information through technology to reduce paperwork, operating costs and streamline business processes while reducing time to address them.

Most prominent among these e-services is the “Self-Services at the Kingdom's airports” that include check-in kiosks that provide boarding passes and luggage identification cards and self-service baggage drops that allows passengers to self-check their luggage.

It also provides self-scanning devices for bags in the arrival halls, ensuring that all baggage and other cargo arrive at the airport through the installation of electronic gates for the passage of freight vehicles before being emptied into the luggage compartment. 

Electronic gates and document scanning machines ensure that a traveler's information is correct and that boarding passes, passports, national identity and residency are valid.

Other services include airport operations systems and flight information display for some domestic airports.

To ensure accuracy in the flight schedules, GACA said it is working on a project to link the Saudi Arabian Airlines traffic management system to the Airport Management System, of which 50 percent has been completed.

GACA is due to host Global Aviation Summit 2019 on April 1 and 2 in Riyadh to review the infrastructure projects for airports and smart airports, the available opportunities to operate the airports and provide advanced services and consultations in civil aviation, among others.