Happy landings! Veteran staff recall Jeddah airport heyday
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.”