MADINAH: Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman on Sunday said the "Makkah Route" initiative has shown positive results and the coverage would be expanded gradually.
The governor made the comment as he inspected the Hajj and Umrah complex at Madinah's Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport, one of two airports in the Kingdom where Hajj and Umrah pilgrims can enter. The other is King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.
Launched last year with Malaysia and Indonesia as the first to try, the "Makkah Route" initiative includes processing of requirements for Hajj pilgrims such as issuance of visas, ensuring compliance with health requirements, and codifying and sorting luggage at airports in the pilgrims’ own countries.
Pilgrims who get cleared through the program can bypass the procedures upon arrival in Saudi Arabia and head directly to buses waiting to transport them to accommodations in Makkah and Madinah, thus easing congestion at airports. Service authorities deliver pilgrims’ luggage to their accommodation in the holy cities.
This year, Makkah Route is expected to serve more than 225,000 pilgrims coming from airports in Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tunisia.
Prince Faisal was accompanied in his inspection tour on Sunday by the minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin, and a number of officials.
The governor urged relevant authorities to provide the best services to the guests of the Prophet’s Mosque and ensure that all the preparations, equipment and services provided to the pilgrims are in place.
He also received a group of pilgrims from Indonesia, welcomed them and wished them a good stay in the land of the Two Holy Mosques.