Haj rule violations to cost airlines dearly
Airlines that do not adhere to regulations at Jeddah and Madinah airports during the Haj season will be fined up to SR100,000, according to government directives issued Saturday.
Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), adopted the new regulations based on the directives.
Flights that do not leave or arrive within a certain time limit will be fined SR10,000 per landing and SR15,000 per departure.
In addition, airliners will be obliged to pay SR1,000 per passenger and SR100,000 if there are less than 100 pilgrims on board.
Flights departing without licensing will be fined anywhere between SR20,000 and SR100,000, while officials found guilty of helping a pilgrim-chartered flight depart without authorization will be fined anywhere between SR10,000 and SR50,000.
GACA officials also reserve the right to ground planes that are found not in possession of valid seasonal permits.
The new regulations also stipulate that pilgrim-chartered airliners and their agents present a flight log.
Failure to do so will result in a SR20,000 to SR50,000 fine per unscheduled flight.
A SR50,000 fine will be incurred for purposely ignoring regulations.
Airlines will require permits prior to flying Haj-chartered flights between Aug. 27 up until the fourth day of the Haj season, according to GACA officials.
Return flights, meanwhile, will operate from Oct. 8 until the middle of the subsequent month.
More than 30,000 pilgrims will be given a 30-day leave of stay, while between 20,000 and 30,000 will be given 25 days and 10,000 to 20,000 will be given 18 days.
Other pilgrims will have anywhere between 12 and 18 days depending on the space available at airports.
More than 1.7 million pilgrims arrive into the Kingdom yearly, according to GACA statistics, most of whom fly in.