JEDDAH – One initiative taken by Tabung Haji (TH) this year to enhance its services for haj pilgrims was to expedite the latter’s transport arrangements from King Abdulaziz International Airport to Makkah.
According to Jeddah Haj 1435 operations director Mohamad Zambry Mohd Noor, the process now takes five hours instead of eight hours.
In previous years, TH would normally issue the pilgrims’ bus ticket to Makkah only upon their arrival at the airport.
This entailed the tedious procedure of tagging pilgrims and their baggage with their respective bus number and lodging college.
From this year onwards, the pilgrims would get the bus ticket, complete with information on their bus number and lodging college upon registering at the Tabung Haji Complex in Kelana Jaya, Selangor.
“It saves time, between one hour and 90 minutes. All the pilgrims need to do upon arriving at the airport is to head to the rest area about 300 metres away, to wait for their bus.
“However, they may have to wait a while for their bus to fetch them, due to limited parking at the rest area,” he told the Malaysian media here recently.
Nevertheless, he said the pilgrims would be served food and drinks while they wait inside the hall.
Mohamad Zambry said the Saudi government has also provided buggy services, to ferry elderly pilgrims from the airport to the rest area.
“Ten buses are provided for pilgrims who arrive on Saudi Airlines, which can accommodate 440 passengers.
“Five buses are provided for those who arrive on Malaysia Airlines, which can accommodate 277 passengers,” he said.
According to him, the journey from the airport to Makkah takes about three hours as the buses have to go through two checkpoints.
TH’s initiative to rent new buses this year, has helped to reduce mechanical breakdowns and delays during the journey to Makkah.
“There have only been two cases so far, which were due to faulty airconditioning and a flat tyre,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Zambry said the atmosphere at the King Abdulaziz airport is more relaxed and less congested following the Saudi government’s decision to impose a pilgrim quota. – BERNAMA