Poor Jeddah airport rating rejected

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Updated 21 October 2014

Poor Jeddah airport rating rejected

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has slammed a website claiming that King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah is the world's second-worst facility.
Khalid Al-Khaibari, GACA's spokesman, said the rating was done by a Canadian woman on her blog, The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, and was unscientific.
Al-Khaibari said the assessment was not based on studies or specified standards. He said the woman was speaking about the best airport to sleep and rest, while airports in the Kingdom are facilities to pass through. He said this was a personal view. “We respectfully look at other opinions even if they are personal.
King Abdul Aziz International Airport has all the services needed. We don't deny there are some negatives that we hope will be removed when the new airport begins operating in the middle of next year,” he said.
“The Haj and Umrah complex at the airport receives and says farewell to more than 1.7 million pilgrims on more than 4,000 flights over a span of only eight weeks,” he said.
The readers of the website had ranked KAIA as the second-worst after Benazir Bhutto Airport in Islamabad, followed by Tribhuvan International Airport in Katmandu. The rating was based on four categories: Comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service.
The website said of KAIA: “The main terminal is fairly lackluster. It isn’t overly clean, crowds can be a problem, and the services for travelers are in short supply.”
It added: “Rude immigration officers and lengthy queues do little to improve the traveler experience. Chairs are limited, uncomfortable ... Things might improve in mid-2015 when a new airport is expected to be completed.”


Exploring Saudi Arabia: A journey through the lens

In 2015, Abdulaziz Aldakheel formed the Earth Aerial Documentary Team for his projects. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 16 February 2020

Exploring Saudi Arabia: A journey through the lens

  • Abdulaziz Aldakheel flies a two-seater aircraft to take aerial shots of heritage sites of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Abdulaziz Aldakheel, a businessman and adventurer from Madinah, flies a two-seater aircraft and takes aerial photographs of Saudi Arabia that have been creating waves on social media.
“I like to explore and document sites and everything I see from the top. As a pilot, I know how to get the best spots (to) capture a good photo from the right angle. I also know the right altitude,” he told Arab News.
“Aerial photography is unique and unlike regular photography on the ground, which everyone can do.” He said he has licenses to fly over some banned areas and zones in Madinah.
It all started in 2014, when Aldakheel set off to explore a volcano crater in Madinah. “I also took photographs, which won the admiration of many of my friends and followers on social media,” he said.
“My friends and I started to search for exotic places to explore and learn more about, and also to document them, as we all shared the belief that the Kingdom boasts exotic and great archeological sites, including Islamic and historical ones,” he added.
“We decided to form a team of professional members who are capable of making such explorations and documenting what we see. In 2015, we formed the Earth Aerial Documentary Team, the first and largest volunteer team that uses light-sport aircraft for photography.”
Some of the most aspiring photography experiences for him and his team are rare natural phenomena in desert areas across the Kingdom, such as snowfall.
“Flying is our hobby. We fly twice a week ... The Saudi deserts are the most mesmerizing during the winter. Besides, flying during cold weather is better,” Aldakheel said.
His favorite photography tools are two Nikon D850 cameras. “This type of camera is the most professional and helps you capture photos with very high precision, and zoom in and out easily while flying an aircraft,” he said.
“We fly aircraft as volunteers to serve our country and with the full support of Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman and his deputy Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal. We’re grateful for their continuously encouraging the whole team. We’re proud that they put up the photos of the team in the emirate building in Madinah. We view this as a major achievement and an inspiration that will spur us on to do more,” Aldakheel added.
“Our ambition is to get approval for other sites in the Kingdom so we can document them.” He will be documenting remote areas in the Eastern Province, the Southern Region and the Empty Quarter.
“We’re getting ready for our exhibition in Madinah, where we’ll showcase our works as well as our aircraft, vehicles, photography and camping equipment,” he said.