Poor Jeddah airport rating rejected

Pilgrims are seen at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah in this file photo. KAIA is undergoing massive expansion which would place it at par with the world's most modern airports.

Pilgrims are seen at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah in this file photo. KAIA is undergoing massive expansion which would place it at par with the world’s most modern airports.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has slammed a website claiming that King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah is the world’s second-worst facility.

Khalid Al-Khaibari, GACA’s spokesman, said the rating was done by a Canadian woman on her blog, The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, and was unscientific.

Al-Khaibari said the assessment was not based on studies or specified standards. He said the woman was speaking about the best airport to sleep and rest, while airports in the Kingdom are facilities to pass through. He said this was a personal view. “We respectfully look at other opinions even if they are personal.

King Abdul Aziz International Airport has all the services needed. We don’t deny there are some negatives that we hope will be removed when the new airport begins operating in the middle of next year,” he said.

“The Haj and Umrah complex at the airport receives and says farewell to more than 1.7 million pilgrims on more than 4,000 flights over a span of only eight weeks,” he said.

The readers of the website had ranked KAIA as the second-worst after Benazir Bhutto Airport in Islamabad, followed by Tribhuvan International Airport in Katmandu. The rating was based on four categories: Comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service.

The website said of KAIA: “The main terminal is fairly lackluster. It isn’t overly clean, crowds can be a problem, and the services for travelers are in short supply.”

It added: “Rude immigration officers and lengthy queues do little to improve the traveler experience. Chairs are limited, uncomfortable … Things might improve in mid-2015 when a new airport is expected to be completed.”

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