Indonesia hopes for airport Haj clearance by 2020
About 40 Saudi immigration officials have been assigned to work in the clearance process
Indonesia hopes fast tracking for its Haj pilgrims, known as the Makkah Road initiative, will be expanded to two more airports in Java by 2020.
Indonesian pilgrims have benefited from the initiative since it was introduced in Soekarno Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten province which serves pilgrims from Lampung, West Java and Banten provinces as well as Jakarta. About 40 Saudi immigration officials have been assigned to work in the clearance process during the 30-day Haj departure period.
Haj and Umrah services’ secretary of religious affair’s directorate general, Ramadhan Harisman told Arab News: “Even though it was introduced last year, the service is still only available in Soekarno Hatta Airport. To be able to provide it in other airports would depend on the availability of Saudi immigration officials and whether the other airports have the infrastructure to support it.”:04
He said Indonesia hoped to eventually fast-track Haj immigration clearance services at all 13 airports that ran routes to Saudi Arabia to perform Haj.
He added: “Next year we hope to be able to have the fast-track clearance in Surabaya and Solo. The two airports there are also among the busiest, serving a huge number of pilgrims. The two airports are ready, we just need to finalise it with Saudi officials.”
If the fast-track clearance is provided in the two airports in addition to Jakarta, the service would be able to process up to 140,000 pilgrims or more than 60% out of Indonesia’s pilgrims.
Indonesia is sending the largest number of Haj pilgrims this year after it received an increase in its Haj quota to 231,000 pilgrims.