Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

Updated 20 October 2014

Only company taxis to pick up passengers at airports

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has banned individual Saudi taxi drivers from operating at the Kingdom’s airports from Oct. 24 to make for a revamped airport transport system.
More than 1,500 drivers, of whom nearly 360 work at Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport (KFIA), now face unemployment in the wake of this decision.
Taxi drivers had received an official letter from the authority saying that their contracts would end after more than 11 months of verbal notice that their licenses would not be renewed.
Taxis will henceforth operate with several companies under one umbrella, which will provide a uniform standard of modern, air-conditioned vehicles and adhere to safety requirements, as well as introduce a unified dress code for drivers, according to Khalid Al-Khaibari, GACA spokesman. “The decision has been taken in a bid to organize and raise the standards of airport transport services,” read the letter.
“It will also eliminate vehicle crowding at the airport entrance since customers will now have to request taxi services at a specific counter,” he said. The decision will eventually be implemented across all of the Kingdom’s international airports, according to Al-Khaibari.
“Unifying standards will drastically improve quality of services,” he said. “Some existent taxis might be subsumed under these companies.”
An official at one international airport, who did not want to be identified, said the decision was taken after receiving countless complaints of extortion, lack of professionalism and rudeness. “This is why GACA has taken this decision,” he said.
Several drivers, many of whom have worked in the field for more than three decades, told Arab News that their income would be badly hit by the decision, which they described as unfair.
“Countless Saudi cab drivers have more than 25 years of experience on the road,” one driver said. “Some had even fallen victim to traffic accidents trying to earn a decent living for their families.”
“The decision has come down on us like a ton of bricks,” said Yasir Ali, another driver. “We have less than a week to get our lives in order.”
The drivers intend to submit complaints to Eastern Province authorities after they say GACA ignored their demands. “More than 150 expat drivers who work for the same company are still operating at the airport,” said Abdulrahman Majed, a taxi driver who has been working for the airport for a decade.


Fifth Jeddah International Book Fair opened by Makkah governor

Updated 12 December 2019

Fifth Jeddah International Book Fair opened by Makkah governor

JEDDAH: Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, the governor of Makkah, officially opened the fifth edition of the Jeddah International Book Fair on Wednesday.

The prince toured the event, at which 400 publishing houses from 40 countries are taking part, and honored three renowned figures from the local literature and media scenes: Dr. Hashem Abdo Hashem, the former editor in chief of Okaz newspaper; writer Abdel Fattah Abu Madian; and writer Meshaal bin Muhammad Al-Sudairy.

Prince Mishaal bin Majed, the governor of Jeddah and chairman of the exhibition’s Higher Committee, thanked Price Khalid for his support of the fair since it was founded. He also expressed his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their great support.

He added that the success of the event is the result of the hard work of a number of organizations. In particular, he wished the Ministry of Culture continued success in organizing the fair as part of its efforts to develop culture in the Kingdom as one of the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030.

Other VIP guests and dignitaries at the inauguration of the fair included Prince Badr bin Sultan, the deputy governor of Makkah; Prince Saud bin Abdullah, adviser to the governor of Makkah; and Prince Khalid bin Mishaal, deputy governor of Jeddah.

The book fair continues at Land of Events in South Abhur until Dec. 21.