Visible Improvements in  Sanaa’s International Airport [Archives:1999/15/Viewpoint]

April 12 1999

As a frequent flyer, I interact very often with Sanaa International Airport. I pass by the place at least four times a month and therefore, I can see what is happening to it.
Over the last few months, I can see signs of definite improvements. Let me specify:
1. Cleaner Airport:
One of the most important improvements is that the airport is a lot cleaner today. Even as the airport welcomes all kinds of people, it has become steadily cleaner.
You can see local assistants sweeping the floors, wiping the walls, and doing all kinds of cleanup work.
2. Better Passport Control:
I remember a few months back when one young officer moved swiftly to help the arriving passengers make different lines. He asked us to move to the counter one by one, and the next in line should remain behind the line. I was impressed by him. I was even more impressed by the ability of our people to quickly fall in line and respect the law.
The officer did another thing which was good. He made sure several passport counters were open to speed up the process.
3. Customs Has Improved:
The most glaring revolution at the airport must be with the customs systems. A few weeks back, a declaration system was introduced. There is now a red exit, and a green exit.
For passengers who had nothing to declare, the formalities were much reduced.
Of course, people are subject to random inspection, but that is normal and acceptable.
4. Better Management:
It is clear that the management of the airport, in general, has matured a lot. Even the security apparatus, a very difficult job to start with, seems to have made progress. Unlike the days in which there were several security organs at work in parallel, today, there seems to be a more coordinated effort. The impression you get is that somebody has a better control and a better understanding of the job.
Yet, before I conclude, I have two pieces of advice that I want the airport authorities to consider.
1. Is there any way arriving luggage could be handled more quickly? Sometimes it take more than an hour, sometimes, two hours if several flights arrive close to each other, to unload the baggage. This is too much time. It is common knowledge that arriving passengers want to go home as soon as possible. Therefore, they are not psychologically tuned to do much waiting, at least not patiently.
I believe the authorities need to address this matter in order to further enhance the service of the airport.
2. Why don’t the authorities levy a fee for people who want to bid farewell or receive passengers? A YR 500 per person could be levied. The money would be useful to finance more improvements, especially in light of government budgetary constraints.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the airport authorities for their efforts.