There was anxiety among Nigerian pilgrims as piles of Zamzam water bottles have accumulated in the lounges and passages at the Jeddah airport as authorities stopped pilgrims from carrying these into the aircraft.
It was gathered that majority of the pilgrims that bought Zamzam water on their way home had theirs seized by officials at the airport.
General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) regulations also barred passengers from carrying Zamzam bottles on board the aircraft as the Director of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Abdulhameed Aba Al-Ari was quoted as saying in a section of the Arabic press, “Pilgrims can however check in officially-packaged 5-liter Zamzam water bottles.
“I came to the airport carrying a 10-liter bottle of Zamzam water but the Saudia employee at the counter prevented me from taking the bottle aboard the aircraft under the pretext that a directive bars passengers from carrying these bottles on board. The employee suggested that I purchase 5-liter bottles that are sold for SR9 each,” Tariq Al-Ghamdi, a passenger, told Makkah daily.
The KAIA director said all local and international airlines operating from the airport have been informed of the regulations.“Water bottles of an unknown source will not be accepted. This is in implementation of the decision barring passengers from carrying liquids or gels aboard aircraft,” he said.
With this development, most of the pilgrims in Kaduna were worried after purchasing 5 liters of Zamzam water at the rate of 20 riyals equivalent of N2,000.
“We are not even sure if they will allow us to enter into the plane with the 5 liters because presently, with the report reaching us, they are collecting pilgrims Zamzam water at the airport except you bought it from a particular location inside the airport,” a pilgrim said According to him, people are worried because they are not sure they will get the water to buy at the airport as Zamzam is important to pilgrims.