‘Airport entry ban must be for all, not just expatriates’ – ‘Restaurants revenues to dip’

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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 30: In this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers weighed in on the recent measure to restrict expat visitors from entering the departure lounge of the Kuwait International Airport with the majority of respondents feeling that this rule should be applied to all equally. It was announced earlier this month that the Airport Security Department of Kuwait International Airport headed by a new director, Brigadier Waleed Al-Saleh, had decided to ban expatriates from entering into the airport for the purpose of bidding farewell to their traveling relatives and friends, the activity now being strictly restricted to the main gate alone.

Brigadier Al-Saleh has reportedly given orders to implement several security measures at the entrance gates on the first fl oor for a number of reasons, the foremost of which is curbing congestion at the departure area.

74 percent of respondents felt that this rule should be applied to all and not just the expatriate community. “It is extremely worrying that Kuwait continues to implement one set of rules for nationals and another set of rules for its expatriate workforce even in issues like this. It seems that there is no equalizer in society’s amenities and public spaces anymore.”

11 percent of voters favored the move of barring visitors from entry into airports as this is followed in their home countries as well. “I think it is about time that Kuwait restricted entry into its airport. We need to be concerned about our security. In my experience, I have found security to be quite lax so I’m very happy that the authorities have started taking a step forward in this regard”, a voter shared.

Some others pointed out that this would impact the revenues of cafes, restaurants and stores located at the airport. “I think retail and food services at the airport will suffer. Usually families will grab a bite to eat or drink a coffee together after checking in their baggage and before proceeding to immigration. This will stop as no one will be hanging around the area”, a reader told the Arab Times.

8 percent believed that this will cut unnecessary congestion at checkin zones and 2 percent felt that this would put an end to parcel deliveries and packages being exchanged at the airport by compatriots. “There are far too many people that come to see one person off. It really compounds overcrowding, stretches the capacity of the parking lot, and gives the appearance of a market, not an international airport. You would always see a flock of bachelors crowding the main open space before, it’s about time it stopped”, a respondent shared. Others revealed that among some communities, it is common practice to hand over packages to travelers going to their home country which also creates added congestion at the checkin zones.

4 percent believed that the measure would not be as effective with regards to ensuring security, as entry to the departure lounge is accessible via the arrivals area below

By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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