Saudi Arabia's civil aviation authority blames airline for mistreatment of Egyptian pilgrims
Egyptian pilgrims last week complained of mistreatment at the Jedda airport, which Saudi Arabia’s aviation authority blamed on the pilgrims. After outraged protests, the authority changes it's tune
Ahram Online Zeinab El Gundy, Tuesday 6 Sep 2011
The General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia points the finger at Saudi Airlines for the negligence of Egyptian and Bengali pilgrims at the Jeddah airport.
In a statement published in the daily Saudi Al Riyadh newspaper, the Saudi General Authority blamed the Saudi airlines for the delays, which built-up the crowds at the Jeddah airport at the end of the Ramadan umrah (pilgrimage).
The General Authority's statement comes in direct contrast to an interview with Al Hayat TV last week, where they blamed the Egyptian pilgrims themselves, accusing them of creating the jam at the airport with heavy luggage and behaviour.
Last Sunday a group of Egyptians protested in Giza, Cairo in front of the Saudi embassy demanding an official apology as well as the release of Hamed Ali , the Egyptian engineer who was detained at the Jeddah airport and allegedly transferred to the Saudi ministry of interior. He has not returned and Saudi authorities have not released any further information or official statement on him.
The mistreatment of the umrah pilgrims sparked anger amongst Egyptians, where many political and society figures have demanded an official apology from the airlines and airport authorities.