Airlines face fines of up to SAR100,000 ($26,600) for flouting regulations introduced for the Haj season, when millions of pilgrims flock to the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, Saudi Arabia has warned.
Additional regulations are in place at Jeddah and Madinah airports during the busy period to help control the flow of pilgrims.
Airlines that fail to arrive or depart within a given timeframe would be fined SAR10,000 per landing and SAR15,000 per departure, Arab News reported, quoting General Authority of Civil Aviation president Prince Fahd bin Abdullah.
Flights with fewer than 100 pilgrims on board would incur a fine of SAR100,000 plus SAR1000 per passenger.
GACA officials who assist a pilgrim-chartered flight depart without authorisation would be fined between SAR10,000 and SAR50,000, while pilgrim-chartered airliners that fail to present a flight log would be forced to pay SAR20,000 to SAR50,000 per unscheduled flight.
About 6 million pilgrims are expected to converge on Makkah – the site of the Grand Mosque – this year, according to the government’s recent estimate.
About one-third are expected to be foreigners, most of whom would arrive by plane.