Crowding, luggage pile-up at Jeddah airport


By Abdulaziz Ghazzawi

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

— King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah is facing crowding and luggage pile-up despite remedial measures as more than 18 international flights are taking off from Haj Terminal everyday carrying home-bound Haj pilgrims.

The number of workers at the carousels has also been increased to handle the huge number of luggage.

Sources said that many pilgrims left for their homes without luggage. There were more than 2,000 luggage pieces still lying near the carousels waiting to be shipped, they added.

“The airport›s annual capacity is 13 million passengers. It has been increased to 19 million with about 13 million currently using the facility,” the sources said.

Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Abdulhakeem Al-Tamimi admitted a number of shortcomings at the airport but said measures would be taken to correct the situation. He also criticized the lack of coordination among the 27 security, government and private agencies in addition to air companies and the ground services working at the airport.

Informed sources blamed flight delays, the pressure on luggage conveyor belts and the inappropriate grouping of pilgrims to be among the reasons for the crowding of passengers and the pile-up of luggage at the KAIA.

They also said the employees of the ground services did not observe the permitted weight of the luggage causing the breakdown of conveyor belts.