Indonesia Flag-carrier Garuda Indonesia announced that it has reopened international flights for Umrah pilgrimage as of Wednesday, January 12, after it was postponed due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.
“The inaugural Umrah flight amidst the new adapted period will see Garuda carrying at least 257 Indonesian pilgrims aboard the direct flight to Madinah,” said Garuda president director Irfan Setiaputra on January 12.
The carrier plans to serve two flights per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays via Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Garuda Indonesia operates its Airbus A330-300 fleet that can carry 24 business class passengers and 263 economy class passengers.
Irfan explained that all the Umrah pilgrims have met the health and safety requirement set by the Saudi Arabian government, such as complete vaccinations and Covid-19 tests during their temporary stay at the Pondok Gede Hajj Dormitory with results that are shared with the Saudi government.
After the Umrah pilgrims arrive, they will be subjected to institutionalized quarantine at a certified hotel. The Garuda Indonesia president said the current batch has waited two years to conduct their pilgrimage as the spread of the Delta variant in the middle of 2021 disrupted the sacred religious activity.