Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Number of pilgrims increases 75 times in 70 years

The number of foreign pilgrims has increased more than 75 times over the past 70 years, according to Abdulhamid Abal Arry, general director of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

He said the number of pilgrims increased from 23,863 in 1941 to 1.8 million in 2010.

He said that 1.67 million pilgrims had arrived by air this season. Around 8.3 million pilgrims came through King Abdulaziz International Airport for Haj and Umrah in 2012 alone. 

“The number of Muslims wishing to perform Haj around the world has been on the rise since 1927. Since then, the Kingdom has witnessed huge developments,” he said.

“The government has ordered entities to conduct studies on establishing comprehensive services for pilgrims in order to accommodate the burgeoning numbers,” he added.

He said that King Abdulaziz International Airport is the main entry point for the Two Holy Mosques. “The airport, which is also the western gateway for Saudi Arabia, plays a distinctive role in serving the guests of God, with at least 60 percent of pilgrims using the terminal, making it one of the busiest in the Kingdom.”

King Abdulaziz International Airport has witnessed an increasing number of passengers since it was opened in 1982. In 2012, the airport served 27.2 million passengers compared to 7.79 million in 1983, a year after its inauguration. 

King Abdulaziz International Airport receives more than 41 percent of the total number of the Kingdom's incoming passengers.

Abal Arry added that current air traffic is double the airport's capacity and that it was no longer capable of keeping up with the continual increase. The airport hasn’t undergone radical development since vital facilities and technical systems became outdated.

The first half of this year saw an increase of 6.5 percent in the number of passengers from 2012. There were 3.9 million domestic passengers, 6.7 million passengers on international flights and 3,894,779 Umrah passengers who traveled to King Abdulaziz International Airport. Continue Reading ...