JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Published — Monday 3 November 2014
Passengers departing from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport have expressed shock and disappointment at the new rule limiting the amount of Zamzam water they can carry with them.
Earlier, passengers could take a minimum of 10 liters of Zamzam water per person, but the new rule limits the amount to only five liters per passenger causing tensions with airport officials.
Muzamal Sarkar, traveling to London, called Arab News and complained about the change in rules which prohibit passengers from taking 10-liter bottles of Zamzam water.
Sarkar explained that many passengers were taken aback by the sudden change in rules and were now wondering about what to do with the 10-liter bottles they had carried with them from Makkah.
“I carried a 10-liter Zamzam water bottle which I had bought from Makkah for SR30 to take back home but when I approached the safe wrap company to pack it for me, they informed me that they no longer packed 10-liter bottles as we weren’t allowed to carry them,” Sarkar said.
He further said that there was a stall at the airport which was selling five-liter bottles of Zamzam water for SR10 each and the packing facility was also at a distance from the airport.
“Luckily, the driver who had come to drop me at the airport was still there, so I was able to send back the 10-liter bottle and buy the smaller bottle instead to take to London for my wife who is suffering from cancer,” he said, adding that many passengers were upset at this sudden decision.
Another passenger, Salman Hassan Zaman, told Arab News that about a month ago he had traveled with his family carrying five bottles of 10-liters of Zamzam water but this time he was stuck with the 10-liter bottle and had to discard it at the airport.
Saudi traveler Ali Al Zahrani said that the new rule for carrying Zamzam should be mentioned on the airline ticket to avoid the harassment passengers were currently experiencing.
“It’s unfair to suddenly change the rules without prior notice,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Saudi Arabian Airline airport officer said that the rule had been imposed by the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) not the airlines. He further said that GACA had given the contract to a company which supplies the five-liter packed Zamzam water for the passengers at the airport.
In an earlier statement, Saeed Musfer Al-Wadi, director of the King Abdullah Project for Zamzam of the National Water Company, said: “Zamzam water is being packed according to norms set by the civil aviation authorities and they are exclusively packing five-liter cans for returning pilgrims as advised by the civil aviation authorities.”
In order to find out when the rule for pilgrims had been extended to general travelers, Arab News called GACA, but received no response