Garuda Indonesia Ready for Umrah Flights as Ban Lifts



Mahinda Arkyasa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Director of Garuda Indonesia Irfan Setiaputra, said that the flagship carrier is ready to transport umrah pilgrims following the Saudi Arabia's government lift on travel ban against Indonesian pilgrims.

    "Well, of course [ready to fly again]," Irfan said to Tempo on Sunday, October 10, 2021.

    Irfan said that many umrah pilgrims have waited to travel to the Holy Land. However, Irfan cannot elaborate on when the first flight will depart. "There are so many queues, we will wait for the final [decision]," Irfan said.

    Previously, the Saudi Arabia government has officially lifted the ban for Indonesians who wanted to carry out their umrah pilgrimage. The ban lifting was confirmed after a Diplomatic Note from the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Jakarta was issued on October 8, 2021.

    'The embassy has received information from various competent parties at the Kingdom of Saudi of Arabia concerning the continuation of murah for Indonesians," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi in an online press conference on Saturday, October 9, 2021.

    Retno said that the Special Committee at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently working to minimize all obstacles hindering Indonesian umrah pilgrims to carry out their pilgrimage.

    Minister Retno explained that the Diplomatic Note mentioned that both parties are in the final stages of discussing the exchange of technical links with Indonesia. The contents of the note explained that what information that must be provided by visitors in relation to vaccines and will facilitate the entry of pilgrims.

    "The diplomaic note also mentioned the consideration to determina a quarantine period of 5 days for umrah pilgrims who does not fulfill the required health standards," Retno said.

    Retno said that the government will follow up the announcement from Saudi Arabia with detailed discussion concerning the technical implementation. In addition to coordination with the Religious Ministry and Health Ministry, communication will also be established with respective authority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    "I myself has conducted coordination and communication with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Religion. My last meeting with the Saudi Arabia Minister of Foreign Affairs occured on the sideline of the United Nations 76th General Assembly in New York," Retno said.