DAMMAM — Travelers flying from King Fahd International Airport in Dammam will now be able to check in their luggage and take boarding cards from city check-in counters.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) will start operating city check-in counters from March 12.
According to GACA officials, the move — first of its kind in the Kingdom in terms of international airlines — will help passengers and ease congestion at the airport.
The city check-in counters will be located at the SAPTCO (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Corporation) Bus Terminal in Dammam.
Initially the facility will have four counters and will open every day at 8 in the morning and close at 10 in the night.
Passengers can check in at the city counter between 24 hours and six hours before scheduled departure.
As of now six airlines — Egypt Air, Jet Airways, Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Etihad and Saudi Gulf — will be providing their services at the city counter. GACA expects more airlines to follow suit.
The authorities said that all the baggage checked in at the city counters will be screened at the airport. They urged passengers to write their contact number on their baggage.
Stand by and waitlisted passengers will not be accommodated at the city counters.
Passengers will also be able to pay excess baggage surcharges at the city counters.
The authorities assured passengers of the safety and security of their baggage. All the baggage will be loaded onto Saudia Ground Services (SGS) trucks under close watch through CCTV.
All the trucks will be sealed with a security seal and accompanying baggage manifest. At the airport baggage loaded in sealed containers will be brought for security screening and finally sent to the respective aircraft. The city counter has easy direct access from all four directions.
The facility will have ramps for smooth passage of trolleys and a sprawling waiting area where two screens will display arrivals and departure status of flights at King Fahd International Airport. Each counter will be shared by all the six participating airlines and at later stage the number of counters will be increased in proportion to the increase in airlines using the facility.
The travel industry has welcomed the move and said that it will greatly facilitate the passengers who can now travel to the airport light and with ease.
KFIA is nearly 40 km from Dammam City Center and more than 65 km from Al-Khobar.
Syed Waheed Lateef, General Manager of Al-Zameel Travel Agency welcomed the facility and said it is yet another major step by GACA to improve facilities for passengers. He hoped that the similar city terminals open in Jubail and Al-Ahsa soon.
GACA officials said that the authority was considering opening similar facilities in Jubail (110 km from KFIA) and Al-Ahsa (130 km).