Efforts of Saudi transport ministry during Hajj lauded

An aerial view shows buses parked after dropping Muslim pilgrims off near Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, on Arafat Day which is the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, in this August 31, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2017

Efforts of Saudi transport ministry during Hajj lauded

RIYADH: Minister of Transport Sulaiman Al-Hamdan has expressed gratitude to the staff of the ministry, the General Transport Authority (GTA), General Ports Authority (GPA), and General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) for their integrated work with other Hajj agencies to serve pilgrims during the just-concluded Hajj season.
He said efforts of all transport sectors came together in response to the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman through the application of set plans, and in coordination with other security and service sectors.
More than 1,776 employees of different transport sectors participated in serving pilgrims at the holy sites and roads leading to the sites, airports, and ports receiving pilgrims, according to a report released by the ministry.
The ministry mobilized all its material and human resources to implement plans including the transportation of more than 2.3 million pilgrims throughout the season.
Ministry work also included road maintenance at the holy sites; rock-cutting work between the Arafat and Muzdalifah facilities to protect pilgrims from possible rock slides; implementation of security check points on the outskirts of Makkah; and support of security control centers on all major roads, which resulted in the detection of 2,895 cars that had violated Hajj regulations, the report said.
The GTA controlled prices of public transportation, their efficiency and safety, and passenger transport services from car park areas to the Grand Mosque and the holy sites. It also participated in the operation of the Mashaer Railway which was used by more than 2 million pilgrims, the report said.
For its part, the GPA prepared ports to receive pilgrims through allocation of terminals for arrival and departure purposes; customs services; modernization of security and TV camera systems; and preparation of loading equipment to cope with the increased traffic of the Hajj season, the report said.
Meanwhile, Saudi ports witnessed intensive activity during the Hajj season where Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) received 14,872 pilgrims on 18 ships, the report said. In general, the Saudi ports received 2 million heads of livestock, 1 million tons of general goods and 378,344 containers during the season.
In the same manner, the GACA played a key role in the success of the Hajj season by coordinating air operations to schedule flights with the operating companies, and providing services to pilgrims at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, the report said.
At King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, the GACA organized and received 4,863 flights for 966,546,000 pilgrims through 95 air companies, while it received 675,701,000 pilgrims through 3,156 flights at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah.
The capacity of the two airports increased by 40 percent compared to figures from last year, the report said.


US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

Updated 20 February 2020

US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

  • Consul General Rachna Korhonen: I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are
  • Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year

DHAHRAN: The US Consulate General in Dhahran hosted its 2020 National Day reception on Feb. 19 to celebrate 244 years of American Independence, and the 75th anniversary of the historic meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy.

Consul General Rachna Korhonen and her husband Juha Korhonen welcomed the deputy governor of the Eastern Province, Khalid Al-Battal, and deputy governor of Alkhobar, Abdullah bin Ali Al-Seef, as the guests of honor.

Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year.

“Seventy-five years ago, two great leaders met aboard the USS Quincy. President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz met to chart the future of our bilateral ties. This first encounter between a US president and a Saudi King laid the foundation for the broad strategic partnership the US and Saudi Arabia share today. Beyond partnership, President Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz forged a personal friendship that is at the heart of the strong ties our two countries share today,” said Korhonen.

She added: “As the first woman to be consul general here, it has been an exciting journey for me. I arrived to Dhahran in August 2017, to a country undergoing remarkable changes.  Vision 2030 has opened new possibilities, tourism opportunities are growing, women are driving and attending sporting events. I have said this many times and it is still true: I have the best job in the best place at the best time.

“Most of all, I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya (Eastern Province) who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are. I have made friendships that I know are going to last me a lifetime. When I leave here this summer, I will certainly leave a piece of my heart here but I also plan to take a little piece of your heart with me.”