Jeddah: Saudi Arabia has officially launched the Makkah Road Initiative by commissioning the first two flights of pilgrims from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday.
The initiative began with ending the entry visas into Saudi Arabia from a pilgrim’s own country, at the airport where the originating flight takes off from, in collaboration with various related Saudi government agencies to facilitate pilgrimage arrangements and requirements.
All pilgrims from Malaysia and a section of pilgrims from Indonesia will have their immigration pre-clearance facility from their embarkation points for this year’s Haj.
The Proof of Concept (POC) System for pre-clearance at the point of departure to Saudi Arabia was implemented in coordination with the Saudi, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities. The uniform electronic path service has been dubbed as Makkah Road initiative.
The pilgrims who arrive under the Makkah Road initiative have their fingerprints taken and passports stamped at the pilgrims’ country of departure and their entry into Saudi Arabia would be facilitated like a domestic flight while their baggage would be sent to their places of residence through the Ministry of Haj.
At the same time, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced that they have begum checking of pilgrims’ health requirements electronically without the need to see the papers of vaccines at the airport in Kuala Lumpur on the first trip of the pilgrims of Malaysia, which arrived on Saturday at the Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah.
The travel procedures of all of Malaysia’s pilgrims for the 1439 AH (2018) Hajj season, will be completed through this initiative.
Meanwhile, undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Hussein Al-Sharif said the ministry has made ready all the facilities to host the pilgrims. As for the Makkah Road Initiative, he said the ministry has completed all the tasks assigned to it and is ready to receive the pilgrims from Malaysia and Indonesia, starting with sorting and classification of baggage in advance, to receiving and transferring by bus from the airport directly to their residence.
The services provided under the Makkah Road Initiative include issuing visas, customs and passport procedures, facilitating health requirements, baggage management, and housing arrangements in Makkah.
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