Jan 05 2012
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KAIA gears up for record influx of Umrah pilgrims
There was an increase of 1 million Umrah pilgrims who came from all over the world during 2011 compared to the previous year.
As part of the new Umrah plan, only pilgrims who have reserved return tickets for their departure will be allowed to enter the airport terminal, according to the airport chief.
"We have virtually started preparations for the next Umrah season well in advance, and this was in coordination and planning with the concerned government agencies at the airport," he said.
Abal Ari noted the Umrah season is quite different from the Haj season in terms of its operations. "The arrival halls of the Haj Terminal at KAIA will start receiving pilgrims for the seven-month season from Jan. 24 onward (Rabi Al-Awwal 1). All arrangements are in place at the arrival halls to receive Umrah season flights until the end of Rajab (June 20)," he said.
For the remaining two months of the Umrah season, the airport authorities have developed a special plan. "We will make elaborate special arrangements to receive the huge number of pilgrims during Ramadan. The airport is expected to receive some 800,000 pilgrims during the holy month," he said.
Abal Ari also announced plans to expand and renovate the arrival and departure halls of the terminal as well as ensure their proper maintenance. He also noted that there has been a substantial increase in the number of employees of various government agencies operating at the terminal.
The airport chief said KAIA witnessed the most successful Haj operation during 2011 compared to previous years. "The airport transported more than 2.5 million domestic and foreign pilgrims on board 10,650 flights," he added.
© Arab News 2012
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