Indonesian Haj flight 2nd phase arrives in Jeddah

Indonesian Ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel welcoming Indonesian Haj pilgrims at the KAIA terminal in Jeddah on Saturday. — Courtesy photo

JEDDAH — The second phase of Indonesian Haj pilgrims arrived here with the arrival of the first contingent from Surabaya embarkation point in East Java.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) Flight SV 5511 carrying 450 passengers touched down at King Abdulaziz International Airport on Saturday after an 11-hour flight from Surabaya's Juanda International Airport.

The pilgrims were received by Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel, Indonesian Consul General Mohamad Hery Saripudin and his wife, Director of Haj Service Affairs at Directorate General of Haj and Umrah of the Ministry of Religious Affairs Sri Ilham Lubis, chairman of the establishment of mutawwifs of Southeast Asia pilgrims Muhammad Amen Indragiri and officers from the consulate in Jeddah.

"For me, Indonesian Haj pilgrim is not a regular pilgrim. He's like my family. He brings the name of his nation," said Indragiri in his welcoming remarks.

In the first phase, as many as 251 flights carrying a total of 102,714 had all landed in Madinah during the period of July 28 until Aug. 12. The rest of a total 260 flights carrying 103,821 will land in Jeddah.

Elaborate arrangements have been put in place to receive the pilgrims at both the airports, Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport and Madinah's Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport.

As many as 730 Haj personnel and officers from Indonesia Religious Affairs Ministry and 174 health-care professionals from Health Ministry have been deployed to assist the needs of the pilgrims.

Around 221,000 Indonesian pilgrims are expected to perform Haj this year, a significant increase in number compared to last year's 168,000 pilgrims due to the expansion project of the holy site of Makkah and thanks to Saudi government for returning the original quota with an additional 10,000 to Indonesian pilgrims.

"This is the biggest number in the history of Indonesian Haj, and hopefully the increasing quota of our Haj pilgrims will cut the long waiting list," said Indonesian Ambassador Abegebriel. — SG