Pakistani pilgrims still stranded at Jeddah Airport

By: News Desk
Published: 11:59 AM, 4 May, 2022
Pakistani pilgrims still stranded at Jeddah Airport
Caption: Representational image.
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Hundreds of Umrah pilgrims, including those who are from Pakistan, are still stranded at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport reportedly due to suspension of flights and insufficient exit counters for passengers, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Wednesday.

It is learnt that the Umrah pilgrims have been facing a great deal of inconvenience for the past two days as they were forced to spend nights in the open at the airport reportedly due to suspension of the flights.

The Saudi authorities said that they had set up more counters to improve the worsening situation at the airport and also opened an emergency exit gate.

They maintained that the passengers had to face difficulties at the airport after the cancellation of foreign flights.

They also claimed to have been liaising with airlines to ensure the return of passengers to their home countries.

Aviation minister’s directive to PIA

Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique has directed the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) management to provide hotel accommodation to passengers facing delays in getting flights from Jeddah after the airport authorities shifted all international flights to the North Terminal due to ‘massive rush’ of air travellers.

Accordingly, the PIA Chief Executive Officer made a telephonic contact with the Jeddah Airport authorities formally requested for the facilitation of Pakistani passengers, PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan said in a news release. He said PIA Station Manager Tariq Majeed and Deputy Station Manager Khizar could be contacted at +966 54 3203438 and +966 55 4553342 respectively for timely information about flights’ timing.

Passengers could also get information about flights from PIA Call Centre by calling at 786 786 111.

Earlier in a press statement, the PIA spokesman while explaining the prevailing situation at the Jeddah Airport said all airlines’ flights departing from Jeddah were facing extended delays.

He said passengers at the airport were facing difficulties in check-in as there were only four boarding gates at the North Terminal that were insufficient to handle the increased number of travellers. So, he said, the delay was expected in flights.

Accordingly, the spokesman said the PIA administration had issued instructions to provide all possible facilities to its passengers, while the national flag carrier’s officials in Jeddah were constantly in contact with the Saudi authorities.

He said PIA’s local teams in collaboration with the airport authorities were making arrangements to reduce delay time in the flights’ departure. “The PIA’s CEO himself is monitoring the situation,” he added.

The spokesman said Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique was also taking a moment-to-moment review of the situation so that the suffering of Pakistani passengers could be minimized. He said the PIA management extended an apology to passengers in advance and hoped the passengers would understand the situation and cooperate with the national flag carrier.