Authorities at King Abdulaziz International Airport here have banned non-travelers from entering the departure and arrival halls of the airport, specifying them for travelers only.
Abdulkarim Al-Harbi said he came to the airport to receive his wife and children but the airport security prohibited him from entering the place.
“I tried to explain to the security officer that my wife was alone with my four children and she needed my help with the children and the luggage. The officer was not cooperative at all. I had to wait outside for them for an hour. I knew my wife was struggling with the luggage,” said Al-Harbi.
He added his wife came out with one child in her arms and the others clung on to her.
“She was overwhelmed and two of our children were trapped inside the airport when the electric door shut on them before they were able to exit with their mom. My wife had to walk all the way to the car to drop the luggage and the two children and then return to get the other two,” said Al-Harbi.
He added visitors to the airport were given an area to wait in but it lacked many basic services.
“There should have been a greater number of seats in the waiting area. There was also only one small shop and there aren’t any restrooms, prayer areas or any other utilities in the area,” said Al-Harbi.
Abdullah Al-Tijani said the waiting area is poorly ventilated.
“I was surprised to find out that non-travelers are not permitted to enter the airport anymore. The airport should have announced that much earlier. People are finding out that they can’t enter if they are not traveling once they have already arrived,” said Al-Tijani.
He added at least people are able to arrange their transportation and timing ahead of time if they were notified of the new regulations.
Haifaa Al-Shihry said she went to the airport to receive her mother but the security officers prevented her from entering saying only travelers are allowed in.
“The waiting area was poorly equipped and there was no women’s section in it. It barely had any utilities and it also had no women’s section,” said Al-Shihry.
A source said security has been strengthened after the bombings in Madinah, Jeddah, Qatif and Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Only people with documents proving they are traveling are permitted to enter the airport.[Source: Saudi Gazette]