Happy land­ings! Vet­eran staff re­call Jed­dah air­port hey­day

Arab News - - Front Page - Tareq Al-Thaqafi Jed­dah

It was state-of-the-art when it opened in 1981, and the muchloved South Ter­mi­nal of King Ab­du­laziz In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Jed­dah will al­ways have a spe­cial place in the hearts of those who used it.

As the build­ing shuts down and op­er­a­tions move to the gleam­ing new Ter­mi­nal 1, pas­sen­gers, staff and air crew have been re­call­ing the hey­day of the “old” air­port. The ter­mi­nal, based on Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Wash­ing­ton, DC, is “one of the most beau­ti­ful air­ports ever de­signed,” said Saad Al-Shehri, a former vice pres­i­dent of Saudi Ara­bian Air­lines. “For the first time in the King­dom, modern and spa­cious build­ings were al­lo­cated to air­port man­age­ment.” Flight Cap­tain Ali Badeeb re­called: “I was lucky as I was on duty when the old King Ab­du­laziz In­ter­na­tional Air­port was in­au­gu­rated. It was one of the most beau­ti­ful mo­ments of my life.

“I was full of joy when I moved to the new air­port that was equipped with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy re­lated to op­er­a­tions, main­te­nance, pas­sen­ger ser­vices, and air nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems at the time.”

Former Sau­dia as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Ali Malat told Arab News: “Coun­tries in the re­gion to­day with air­ports that are role mod­els in terms of ef­fi­ciency, beauty, and qual­ity con­sider the old King Ab­du­laziz In­ter­na­tional Air­port to be a land­mark that can­not be matched.”

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