Banda Aceh-Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah has inaugurated the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia’s flights from Banda Aceh’s Sultan Iskandar Muda Aceh to Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.
“Up until today, Aceh residents who wish to do the Umra could only depart via Medan’s Kualanamu Airport, or further still, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport,” said Abdullah. The direct flights will be served by Airbus` wide-body aircrafts, Airbus A330-300.
According to Abdullah, the demand for Umra flights from Aceh has always been very high – in fact, every year, at least 10,000 pilgrims have departed to take part in the religious journey.
According to Aceh residents, Umra – sometimes nicknamed as Little Pilgrimage – is a viable option for many, as Hajj can take up a long time to complete, as well as a very restrictive cost and quota, as set by the Saudi Government.
Abdullah hopes that the inauguration of the Aceh-Jeddah route will not only benefit pilgrims, but will also bring benefits for the local economy. “This will make pilgrimage to Mecca cheaper, and considerably shorten journey time – the average journey can now be completed in 7-8 hours,” he said.
The Governor also called on travel companies in Aceh to take advantage of the flights by providing attractive tour packages that includes trips all the while ensuring that all religious prerequisites are met.
Previously, Garuda Indonesia General Manager for Aceh, Nano Setiawan, said that the flights between Banda Aceh and Jeddah will commence on May 3, 2016. There will be two flights – one on Tuesday and another on Thursday.