JEDDAH – Dr. Fuad Bin Abdulsalam Al-Farsy, Minister of Haj, announced Sunday that only 1,420 Algerian Umrah pilgrims are still in the Kingdom, out of 144,000 who came since the beginning of this year’s Umrah season.
He added that the Algerian Airlines has been forced to abide by the dates set for the pilgrims’ departures.
“The ministry and the Algerian Umrah pilgrims were taken by surprise when Algerian Airlines suddenly postponed a considerable number of its flights and cancelled others, which were scheduled to depart from Jeddah and Madina, without announcing new dates for the flights,” Farsy said in a press statement.
This created a state of chaos among thousands of Algerian Umrah pilgrims because of concerns including needs to attend to businesses and appointments and prospects of running out of money, said Dr. Al-Farsy.
Those concerns led to mistaken interpretations and opinions that were not based on facts, he added.
Dr. Al-Farsy said the Ministry of Haj is working with authorities in the Kingdom to force Algerian Airlines to secure accommodation, transportation and meals, according to air transport regulations, until the flights are provided.
Dr. Al-Farsy said he is coordinating with his counterpart in Algeria, who has been informed about the situation and responded positively.
Dr. Al-Farsy said the Algerian consul general personally and together with the Ministry of Haj officials saw to it that the hotel crisis was solved and reassured the Algerian Umrah pilgrims that everybody was determined to solve their problems.
The consul general also coordinated with Algerian Airlines officials in the Kingdom, who rearranged flights and chartered several planes from Saudi Arabian Airlines to take the pilgrims home. – SPA/SG