MADINAH: To deal with the mass influx of Umrah pilgrims, Madinah’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport plans to open its Haj terminal on Friday with 28 extra counters available, according to a report in a local publication.
Col. Hisham Al-Radadi, Madinah Passport Department spokesman, said a meeting was held last week, which decided to open the lounge for the expected rush of visitors.
All procedures would be performed at these counters including checking the identities of passengers with the electronic fingerprint database of the Ministry of Interior, he said.
Al-Radadi said the time taken to process passengers depends on various factors including whether people are familiar with the procedures and the pace at which the children and the elderly are processed.
Ahmad Sharqawi, deputy general manager at Tibah Company for Airport Operations said the service counters were set up to process passengers in an average of 60 seconds.
He said that it was largely the processing of the elderly and children that was slowing down the pace at the airport’s counters. However, everything is being done to ensure there is a smooth flow of passengers through the airport, he said.
Al-Sharqawi said the meeting concluded that the Haj Plaza lounges be reopened and staffed starting from Jan. 1, with extra counters and officials from the Haj Ministry, passport department and customs available.
He said Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman has urged that everything should be done to ensure that pilgrims are accorded quality service at the airport when they arrive and leave
Local media reported earlier that passengers, visitors, citizens and residents coming through the airport in Madinah face many difficulties including lengthy procedures at counters.