Hajj terminal in Jeddah can handle 175,000 pilgrims at a time

Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, left, deputy governor of the Makkah region, visits the Hajj and Umrah Complex at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah on Sunday. (SPA)
Updated 02 August 2017

Hajj terminal in Jeddah can handle 175,000 pilgrims at a time

RIYADH: The Hajj terminal in Jeddah can accommodate 175,000 pilgrims at a time — 91,000 at the arrival lounge and 84,000 in the departure lounge.
These figures were revealed during the visit of Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, deputy governor of the Makkah region, to the Hajj and Umrah Complex at King Abdul Aziz International Airport on Sunday.
Under new arrangements, the airport facilities and personnel will be able to clear 3,800 arriving pilgrims and 3,500 departing ones in an hour. The waiting areas can accommodate 7,000 pilgrims at a time.
The prince reviewed airport upgrades and operational plans to receive pilgrims. He was received by Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, transport minister and chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), among others.
The prince was briefed on government services for receiving pilgrims, including those by the Health Ministry, GACA, and the passports and customs departments.
The Hajj and Umrah Complex covers 510,000 square meters. There are 26 aircraft parking spaces, 10 skyways, 18 travel gates and 143 counters for immigration formalities.
The General Directorate of Passports has issued a warning to those transporting pilgrims without licenses, local media reported.
Penalties include a fine of SR50,000 ($13,333) for every passenger carried, a six-month jail sentence and confiscation of the vehicle transporting the unauthorized pilgrims, Al-Madinah daily reported.
Expatriates violating the rules will be deported after they serve their sentences and pay the fines.
Their vehicles will be confiscated, and they will be banned from re-entering the Kingdom.
During Hajj season last year, the passport authorities issued 101 administrative decisions against 574 violators.
In total, they were fined SR5.8 million with prisons terms of 1,425 days, while 18 vehicles were confiscated.
Performing pilgrimage without a permit is illegal in the Kingdom, and every year authorities launch campaigns for citizens and expatriates about the importance of complying with the regulations.
The aim is to control the number of pilgrims at the holy sites in Makkah and Madinah to enable government agencies and legitimate Hajj firms to provide the best services.


Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

Updated 36 min 53 sec ago

Culture documentation by Saudi ministry to help dispel misconceptions

  • Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias

JEDDAH: Saudi artists welcomed the Ministry of Culture’s first-of-its-kind 16/13 initiative, documenting the diversity of Saudi culture and art through a visual library.
The library will display 16 aspects of culture and heritage through photography and videography that represent the 13 regions of the Kingdom.
Researchers will go around Saudi Arabia to meet creatives, and study their work, for inclusion in the initiative.
“This is an important step for the Kingdom, and it’s a global one to document visual art, whether works of art or cinema,” Dia Aziz Dia, Saudi artist and sculptor, told Arab News.
He added: “It’s important because this creates a database and can be used as a reference to study and compare paintings, photography, sculpting and various types of art, how they differ from one region to the next.”
It could also let government bodies discover art worthy of being put into museums for display, said Dia.
“It’s a good way to document history as well, and to study works of art and the standards of art here,” he said. “It’s on a global level and it’s done everywhere in the world, from England to the US.”
Dia hopes the documenting process will be done professionally and without bias.
He also said it was not easy to compile these works. “It’s an elaborate process to be able to get hold of all the works across the Kingdom. It’s an operation that requires organization, extensive studying and the cooperation of the Society of Culture and Arts and artists as well.”
Saad Tahaitah, documentary filmmaker and photographer, told Arab News that the initiative was promising. He was exposed to it through Saudi photographer Nawaf Al-Shehri, who has been traveling to help with the documentation process.
“The ministry’s been doing an incredible job; they’re (Nawaf and his team) going around the Kingdom and filming content for an actual library,” he said.
Tahaitah has worked on numerous short films on his own to depict the culture and heritage of Asir region, in the southwest of the country. He said he would not trade it for any other place and wished only to film in his hometown.
“I got into documentaries because I wanted honest storytelling. I didn’t want to write a script and hire actors, although that works for some,” he said. “The way I’ve been doing film is to let the person I’m filming go about their day and I let my camera roll.”
Tahaitah started documenting Asir because he wanted to dispel the misconceptions about it, and the stereotypes created through media like “Tash Ma Tash,” the famous Saudi comedy show.
“Asir is full of natural beauty and scenery to capture. It’s diverse in its sights and the people who live in it. Every once in a while, I realize there’s a thing I never noticed before and I film it, and I’ve lived here all my life. The way of life here, simply, can inspire you,” he said.
He added: “We don’t have one particular dance or only sit and dine in a huddle. In a way, I just wanted to showcase the reality of Asir because I love it.”
He said that this initiative could correct inaccuracies shared about certain areas in the Kingdom.