News from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and the U.A.E.

KAAR in Mecca; image courtesy of Schindler

Schindler to Provide 160 Units to Mecca Gateway Project

In partnership with NESMA of Saudi Arabia, Schindler will deliver and install 160 elevators and escalators to King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR), one of the largest urban-development projects in the Persian Gulf. The units will help move people between some of the busiest landmarks in Mecca, including Al Haram Mosque (Great Mosque). KAAR, commonly referred to as the Mecca gateway project, will use bus, metro and high-speed train transportation to and from a central pedestrian boulevard that accommodates up to 100,000 people. It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2021. The more-than-3.5-km-long, up-to-60-m-wide boulevard will be the new entrance to the city, allowing passage of visitors between the Great Mosque and a high-speed rail terminal in the city’s west that links Jeddah and the King Abdul Aziz International Airport.

Law Change Allows High Rises in Peshawar, Pakistan

Authorities in Peshawar, Pakistan, have amended existing laws to allow high-rise buildings within the city, Dawn reported in May. Citing growing urbanization and the loss of agricultural land to construction purposes, the board of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) approved a clause to the building bylaws that will allow development of towers more than 10 stories, the previous height limit. During a meeting, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said construction of high-rise buildings was needed to address fast-growing urbanization, adding that the change would attract real estate investment. He directed relevant authorities to develop a mechanism to regulate high-rise construction.

Iran Elevator Output Drops by More Than Half Since 2013-2014

Annual elevator production in Iran dropped from 70,000 units in 2013-2014 to 25,000-30,000, the Financial Tribune reported in June. The source quoted Abbas Abrishami, head of the country’s National Elevator Union, which has approximately 1,800 members. Abrishami told the Islamic Republic News Agency Iran has annual capacity of 80,000, but a construction recession resulted in low demand. Strong output in 2013-2014 was fueled by a large public-housing scheme, Mehr, launched by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Approximately 750,000 elevators are used by roughly 250 million Iranians daily.

Abu Dhabi Airport Elevators Go Touchless

As part of their efforts to help stem the spread of COVID-19, officials at Abu Dhabi International Airport have installed touch-free technology on 53 elevators at the facility, Gulf News reported in June. In partnership with Meta Touch, a U.A.E.-based startup, the airport developed and installed
“Touch-less Keypad Technology,” which allows elevator passengers to wave their hand in front of a panel to indicate their desired floor or direction. “The installation of the new technology across our elevators is a significant development in ensuring the safety of all our guests and travelers,” said Shareef Al Hashmi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports.

Al Hashmi noted that the technology was designed to be easily installed on any existing elevator. Its introduction follows other measures taken at the airport to fight the virus, including the recent introduction of robots that can sterilize staff areas, cargo facilities and passenger aircraft cabins, and booths designed to safely disinfect a person in as little as 3 s.

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Elevator World | August 2020 Issue Cover