With Capetonians expected to flood Cape Town International Airport as the haj departures begin, hujaaj and their families are urged to obey airport regulations. The call comes as the haj season gets underway, with the first batch of Cape hujjaj set to depart on Friday. About 800 pilgrims will use Cape Town international airport for domestic and international travel in August and September.
The airport is working closely with the South African Haj and Umrah Council (SAHUC) as well the South African Tour Operators Association (SATHA) to ensure that this process is smooth for all airport users and passengers.
“Due to high passenger movement expected during this period, the airport encourages all passengers to use the online check-in facilities offered by their airlines. However, passengers using the online check-in facility are requested to factor in time for luggage drop-off with the airlines,” said Deborah Francis, Cape Town International Airport spokesperson.
To minimise operational delays, families of all travelling passengers will not be allowed to enter the check-in area for both international and domestic on days that there are haj peak movements. This restriction will apply to all passengers and their families, not only haj travellers.
“When the terminal operations cordon off the check-in area, all passengers will need to produce a valid boarding pass or an airline ticket to access these areas. Pilgrims requiring assistance will be aided by SATHOA (tour operators) who are required to have their official uniforms at all times while at the airport,” added Francis.
“We urge passengers to arrive early for the check-in process. For international departures, our check-in counters will open three hours before and close an hour before departure while domestic check-in counters will open two hours before and close 45 minutes before departure. Airlines will advise passengers of the time the boarding gates will close and we advise passengers to adhere to these times,” said Francis.
There are measures in place to accommodate the high passenger volume such as enough staff members at check-in and security points at both domestic and international departures. The airport will also ensure that there is enough security for effective control of temporary restricted areas while SAHUC and SATHOA will manage the haj pilgrims travelling to Mecca.
Other travel tips:
• Prayer Facility: Due to high passenger movement during this period, the airport would like to urge families dropping off Haj travellers to please use Mosques in their respective areas especially on Fridays as the prayer facility offered by the airport have limited space and is used by all travellers and airport staff.
• Parking: Please utilise available Public Parking facilities; vehicles parked illegally will be clamped and subject to a fine. This includes the Drop-off area in the Elevated road. Users are advised to make use of shade net parking Parkade 3 and 4 which are more affordable than the parkades.
• Aviation Security Threats: We encourage pilgrims not to say anything which will be deemed a threat. The Airport takes any threats to Aviation Security seriously and we would like to take this opportunity to urge passengers to be mindful and not trivialise having explosives in their luggage. Any individual who makes such statements at the airport will be arrested and charged under the Civil Aviation Act.
• LAGS (liquids, perfume), Aerosols (deodorant), and Gels (lotion, shaving creams) rules. Passengers are allowed to carry containers that have a maximum capacity of 100ml each. 250ml with 100ml contents will be confiscated
• Containers must be packed in a re-sealable transparent bag. The total capacity in the transparent bag must not exceed 1litre. Only One bag per passenger which must be removed from your hand luggage at the security screening points and presented to security personnel for inspection.
• Any LAGS which are more than 100ml per bottle must be packed in the check-in luggage
• Passengers can purchase items from the duty-free area but please contact your airline to get the LAGS regulations (specifically on Duty-free purchased items) for your destination airport.
• Medication for International passengers: Show this to the security personnel when going through the security screening points and bring your doctor’s prescription with you for all medications
• Unattended Baggage: Passengers are urged not to leave any baggage, handbags or parcels unattended and to report any unattended baggage to the nearest airport representative, security staff or the South African Police Service.
• Baggage Allowance: All airlines have baggage regulations which passengers need to adhere to, the airport would like to encourage passengers to make note of these. Economy Class Passengers: only one slimline laptop bag and one luggage bag that weighs no more than 7 kg is allowed. First or Business Class Passenger: two bags plus one slimline laptop bags are allowed that also weighs no more than 7kg.
• Arriving pilgrims at the end of September: families of arriving pilgrims are requested to please adhere to the crowd control measures put in place for the benefit of all airport users. The airport will create more standing room for all meeters and greeters and congregating on the passenger flow area will not be allowed to ensure that all passengers have enough space to move.
The airport has encouraged all pilgrims to contact SATHOA or the airlines to get their flight details.
“We wish all pilgrims a safe and blessed journey and thank the Muslim community for their continued support and adherence to the airport processes during this holy time,” concluded Francis. VOC