Overcrowding at the Jeddah airport
Overcrowding at the Jeddah airport. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: The chief executive officer of a major Saudi airport has been sacked due to overcrowding at the facility where passengers, mostly umrah pilgrims, were stranded during last week’s Muslim Eid Al Fitr Holiday, according to a local hospital.

Last week, Saudi media carried images and footage showing hundreds of departing pilgrims from different countries stranded at the International King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and were unable to get access to their flights.

In response, the board of directors of the Jeddah Airports Company held an emergency meeting on Saturday and decided to relieve Ryyan Tarabzoni of his post as the company’s chief executive officer and replace him with Ayman Abo Abah, Okaz reported.

The new CEO has a wide experience of more than 28 years during which he held several leadership positions, the latest being deputy CEO for operation at the Riyadh Airports Company, the paper added.

The replacement comes days after Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Service Saleh bin Nasser ordered the formation of an urgent committee to investigate flight delays at the airport.

Authorities opened the Pilgrims City at the airport to accommodate the passengers in the run-up to their flights and protect from the hot weather.

Airport officials blamed the congestion on umrah companies whom they accused of having brought the pilgrims to the site long before their scheduled flights.

The crisis has ended and the airport has returned to smooth normalcy after efforts from various institutions, Saudi TV Al Ekhabriya reported, showing footage of passenger traffic inside the facility.