Posted on: Wednesday 31 October, 2012 10:05
|Saudia steps up efforts to ensure smooth flow of return Haj flights
Saudi Arabian Airlines has stepped up efforts to facilitate the return journey of Haj pilgrims.
“We have mobilized all our resources in the service of the guests of God,” said Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of the airline.
Speaking to reporters after inspecting services at Saudia Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA), he said the airline had operated several additional flights to meet the needs of growing passenger traffic during Haj and Eid Al-Adha.
Saudia operated 74 flights from Jeddah airport on the first day after Haj including 47 to carry domestic pilgrims and 27 to transport GCC pilgrims, the director general said.
On Monday, Saudia operated 577 scheduled and Haj flights to transport a total of 56,534 passengers.
“We have rented 30 wide-bodied aircraft to ensure smooth flow of flights without any delay,” he said.
As usual there were huge crowds of passengers at KAIA including pilgrims returning after Haj.
This situation encouraged authorities to shift some Haj flights carrying domestic and GCC pilgrims to the Haj Terminal and send their baggage using air cargo, Al-Yaum reported.
Saudia officials at the airport said they were prepared for the huge traffic of passengers after Haj. However, they pointed out that huge baggage carried by pilgrims had complicated the situation.
Abdul Hameed Abalarry, director general of KAIA, said more than 80 flights carrying pilgrims have been leaving the airport every day after Haj.
“We have transferred about 18 flights to the Haj Terminal to reduce congestion at the Southern Terminal,” he said.
“We have also set up an area to collect the baggage of pilgrims and transport them to their destinations by air cargo,” the director said. “This arrangement was made for the first time. It has helped speed up travel procedures of pilgrims.”
Meanwhile, Sahl Al-Sabban, assistant Haj minister for projects, disclosed the government’s plan to establish new projects worth SR 2 billion to facilitate the movement of pilgrims in the holy sites.
The new plan includes construction of three flyovers and four new roads to separate pedestrians from vehicles during the peak Haj days.