Chaos at Jeddah airport

Chaos at Jeddah airport
Updated 17 June 2013

Chaos at Jeddah airport

Chaos at Jeddah airport

There is severe overcrowding at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah because citizens and expatriates have been leaving in droves to their local and international holiday destinations.
There are few expatriate workers leaving under the grace period because of the slow pace at which their biometric details are being recorded in the city. Umrah pilgrims have been moved to the Haj terminal and have not contributed to the overcrowding at the domestic and international terminals of the airport.
There were many Saudi holidaymakers leaving with their domestic workers and expatriates lining up to go home.
Passengers and visitors found it difficult to access and move through the departure and arrival lounges of the south and north terminals because of the piles of luggage. The south terminal, with only Saudia flights, was chaotic because of the huge number of holidaymakers.
Domestic passengers have been advised to report at least two hours before departure, while international passengers have to arrive at least five hours before their flights leave because of delays at check-in and immigration.
On Friday, a computer glitch that lasted nearly three hours resulted in delays at the arrivals and departure sections.
The airport has seen more domestic flights scheduled, but there has not been an increase in international flights, according to sources.
Jeddah airport sources said that because of space constraints, additional counters for check-in and immigration cannot be set up.
At Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, expatriates leaving on final exit visas have added to the crowd of holidaymakers. But airport authorities there have introduced special check-in procedures to deal with it.
The airport administration has canceled passenger inspection before the check-in counter and limited inspection of luggage.
An informed source dispelled fears of security breaches, saying the government agencies concerned have taken all the necessary measures to ensure safety and security. The source told local media that the new inspection proposal would serve all passengers by facilitating their travel procedures and easing previous complexities.
The operational procedure, which was put into practice during the summer season, is set to continue after the holidays as it comes within the developmental framework of the airport.
The old inspection equipment used in monitoring and control has been replaced by state-of-the-art equipment and the two inspection stages have been merged into one procedure to avoid crowding and delays.
The airport administration launched new security procedures for in-flight luggage before the check-in counters, and stopped the inspection of passengers, employees and foodstuffs. The new procedure eliminates the duplication of inspection. In addition, it will increase the safety and smoothness of air traffic, follow all local and international security requirements and achieve the highest levels of luggage security and protection against damage and tampering, the source said.