New Jeddah airport to be ready by mid-2017

Updated 25 October 2015
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New Jeddah airport to be ready by mid-2017

JEDDAH: The new upgraded King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah will open for full operations in mid-2017, according to the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), the country’s regulatory body.

Construction on the new facility and testing of all equipment would be completed at the end of 2016, said Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, GACA’s director general and chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), a local publication reported Friday.
Al-Hamdan on Thursday laid the foundation stone for a new Saudia building in the support area next to the airport’s new building. Saleh Al-Jasser, director general of Saudia, was also present at the ceremony.
At a press conference later on Thursday in the operations building, Al-Jasser said the SR350 million Saudia facility would also be ready by mid-2017, as part of its strategic program that includes fleet development, expansion of its flight network, and installation of the latest information technology.
Al-Jasser said the new building would allow Saudia to administer all operations under one roof. The plan is eventually to increase the number of flights from 500 to 1,000 a day, which would be one of the highest airline operations in the world, he said.
He said the Kingdom’s airports would increase the number of passengers they handle from the current figure of 28 million to 45 million by 2020, a goal that has been laid down in GACA’s operational plan.
On privatization, he said Saudia has taken significant steps in certain areas including supplies and types of services, and setting up companies with shares owned by the public.
Al-Jasser said the entry of a third airline company in Saudi Arabia was no problem for Saudia and would be good for competition. He was referring to the plan by Qatar Airways to launch Al-Maha airline company to operate along local routes in the Kingdom.
Al-Maha would reportedly initially operate flights from Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madinah, Abha and Qassim. Qatar Airways already operates international flights between Doha and Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Taif, Qassim, Al-Ahsa and Madinah.


No fatalities in new Makkah crane accident

A construction crane crashes to the ground at an expansion site in the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Sunday. (Twitter photo)
Updated 5 min 48 sec ago
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No fatalities in new Makkah crane accident

  • On September 11, 2015, a crawler crane toppled over onto a crowded section at the Grand Mosque, killing 111 people and injuring 394.
  • This time, the crane collapsed as an area not dedicated for prayer, and was far from visitors and worshippers.

MAKKAH: Part of a mobile crane being used for construction work at the Grand Mosque in Makkah toppled to the ground on Sunday. 
The driver of the crane was slightly injured in the incident, but no one else was hurt. 
The Makkah Governorate said the area of the Grand Mosque where the crane collapsed was not dedicated for prayer, and was far from visitors and worshippers.
“An arm of a mobile crane has fallen in a work area in the Grand Mosque, and the necessary measures are being taken. The site is dedicated to work not to prayer, and away from the path of visitors and pilgrims. The driver of the crane has been slightly injured,” the governorate said. Spending boost The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques explained in a statement that “at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, a small, overloaded crane’s arm deviated from its track and collapsed in an isolated work area near Gate 160 at the third Saudi expansion project of the Grand Mosque.”
Saudis on social media dismissed the significance of the incident and called on others to refrain from spreading exaggerated rumors.
“A crane’s arm fell and people are making a big deal out of it! The country is spending billions  on projects for the Grand Mosque and you are spreading news about such a minor incident,” said one Twitter user (@Drtogomori). 
At least 107 people were killed and about 400 injured on Sept. 11, 2015, when a crane toppled over near the Grand Mosque in Makkah amid stormy weather, just days before Hajj.