Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi airports beef up security | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation [GACA] announced that it would be establishing special sections at domestic airports across the Kingdom where suspicious luggage can be neutralized. These special sections will allow explosives to be defused or neutralized with minimum threat to the rest of the airport. This is part of wider security plans and regulations to ensure airport safety.

GACA director of engineering projects, engineer Hassan Bin Hareb revealed that Abha Regional Airport will adopt a special sections where suspicious luggage can be examined and, if required, neutralized. He stressed that this structure will become a standard feature present in all domestic airports.

Hareb told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this building is concerned with the safety and security of the airport, so when there is suspicion over a specific piece of luggage, this luggage will be immediately transferred by a specialist vehicle to the special section.”

He added that such sections have already been established in a number of Saudi Arabian domestic airports, including Al-Jawf Domestic Airport and Najran Domestic Airport.

He also revealed that this special section at Abha Regional Airport is currently in the design phase, and it will be take around 6 months to be completed, adding that all new airports will come equipped with such buildings fully-integrated into their design, whilst they will be also be added to all existing domestic airports.

In related news, GACA has taken part in a study regarding the establishment of emergency housing at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, for passengers who may have arrived on suspected aircraft. Commenting on the development project at the Jeddah airport, Engineer Mohamed Abed al-Mushraf informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the airport now has an isolated runway for airplanes, so that in the event that a suspected aircraft lands at the airport, it can be cleared of passengers who will be taken to this isolated area [emergency housing] which is away from the other airport premises.”

He also confirmed that this building will include special features including designs to protect against explosions, whilst also ensuring that any explosions or fires can be contained away from the rest of the airport.

GACA is also working to expand Riyadh’s King Khaled International Airport, and its capacity is expected to triple when this expansion project is completed in 2015, enjoying a capacity of 30 million passengers per year.