Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry along with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj and Umrah reviewed the readiness of fast-track services for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims at Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, and Adi Soemarmo Airport, Solo.

The review was conducted by Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah for Pilgrimage Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Abdurrahman Al-Bijawi, along with Director General of Hajj and Umrah Organizations (Dirjen PHU) of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Hilman Latief.

"The results of the inspection will be discussed in the next meeting at a higher level. The Saudi Arabia team would provide recommendations based on the findings in the field. We hope the results will be positive," Latief noted in a statement from his office on Wednesday.

In recent years, the fast-track service has only been provided for Hajj pilgrims departing from Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Cengkareng. This year, this service is being proposed to be extended at Juanda Airport and Adi Soemarmo Airport, he remarked.

"We are studying the possibilities for the most suitable and comfortable place for Hajj pilgrims," he remarked.

According to Latief, several alternatives and schemes were offered for the provision of this fast-track service. The decision on this facility will be taken at the upcoming meeting after conducting a more detailed study.

The plan to open this fast-track service is a follow-up to the visit of Religious Affairs Minister, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, after meeting with Director General of Passports at the Saudi Arabia Immigration Ministry, Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz, in Jeddah on January 2024.

Based on data from the Integrated Hajj Information and Computerization System (SISKOHAT), the number of Hajj pilgrims departing from the Surabaya Embarkation (SUB) and Solo (SOC) reached 39,226 and 35,886 people respectively.

If the fast-track proposal is approved by the Saudi Arabian authorities, 75,112 people will receive this fast-track service. Combined with the 53,353 people who received fast-track services at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Jakarta, the figure adds up to 128,465 people, or more than 50 percent of the total quota of Indonesian Hajj pilgrims.

Latief emphasized that this fast-track service is important to accommodate Hajj pilgrims in immigration document-checking, such as visas and passports, as the process has been carried out at the airport of origin.

"This fast-track (service) will provide Saudi immigration services to Hajj pilgrims at their airport of origin. Once the pilgrims arrive in the holy land, they no longer need to be checked. They just get on the bus and go straight to the hotel," he stated.

The Saudi immigration stages carried out in Indonesia help to reduce the immigration lines in Saudi Arabia. Fast-track service only takes around 30 minutes to an hour as compared to the regular service taking around one to three hours.

Latief expressed hope that the process of implementing the fast-track service in Surabaya and Solo would be approved and run well.

Related news: Indonesia to send 241,000 people to this year's Hajj pilgrimage
Related news: Minister Qoumas heading to Saudi Arabia to discuss Hajj-related guide

Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Arie Novarina
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