King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah has topped a list of the world’s worst airports for 2016 – lambasted for poor hygiene, rude staff and lack of amenities.
The Guide to Sleeping in Airports website, which evaluates overall airport experience each year based on passenger feedback, ranked Jeddah airport the worst, ahead of Juba International Airport in South Sudan, Port Harcourt International Airport in Nigeria, and Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan.
Passengers rated airport quality based on six criteria: comfort (rest zones and gate seating); services, facilities and things to do; food options; immigration and security efficiency; customer service and cleanliness.
The website said Jeddah was top of the list because “virtually all aspects of the terminals need serious improvement”.
The airport is currently being upgraded, with a new terminal and gates originally scheduled to open in mid-2016 to resolve capacity issues. The airport’s southern terminal was designed to receive 6 million passengers when first constructed, but now receives 17 million. But the work has yet to be completed.
Basing its report on the passenger feedback, the website said “cleanliness is but a mythical concept” inside Jeddah Airport.
“The place is said to be staffed by a team of immigration officers described as ‘careless’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘rude’, and amenity-wise, the terminal is devoid of restaurants, shopping and entertainment,” the damming report added.
“During peak hours – to say nothing of when the Hajj pilgrimage rolls around – the queues are unfathomable, and there are never enough chairs to accommodate.
“The thought of sleeping here during a long layover or flight delay is essentially unattainable.”
It concluded: “While travellers hope that 2017 will indeed be the year of the new airport, their only saving grace for now is the free Wi-Fi.”
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said Jeddah airport’s southern terminal was originally designed to receive 6 million passengers, while now it receives 17 million passengers. Therefore, it is necessary to build a new airport in Jeddah.
Local newspaper Arab News quoted a press spokesperson at Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) as saying that The Guide to Sleeping in Airports website had started life as a personal blog recounting sleeping experiments in airports, and was later transformed into a website of evaluating airports in the world.
The website’s classification is not based on specific standards to evaluate airports, the spokesperson said.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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