KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The first of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights bringing back Malaysian pilgrims from the Holy Land arrived early yesterday.
Flight MH8201, bearing 279 pilgrims, landed at the KL International Airport (KLIA) at 4.05am, MAS said in a statement. The flight had departed Jeddah at 2pm (Saudi Arabian time) yesterday, it added.
All the pilgrims were subjected to rigorous screening as required by the Ministry of Health to prevent any cross-border transmission of the Ebola virus that is infecting and killing people in western Africa.
“Health counters have been set up by the ministry at the arrival gate to ensure the seamless screening of all pilgrims and MAS crew,” the statement said.
For this Haj season, MAS operated 39 direct flights to Jeddah and Madinah from seven Malaysian cities, namely Kuala Lumpur (14 flights), Penang (six), Johor (six), Kuala Terengganu (five), Alor Setar (five), Kuching (two) and Kota Kinabalu (one), between Aug 27 and Sept 27.
Twenty-eight of the flights went to Jeddah and 11 to Madinah.
The statement quoted MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya as saying that MAS and the Pilgrims Management and Fund Board (Lembaga Tabung Haji) welcomed back all the pilgrims and congratulated them on the successful completion of their pilgrimage.
“In Islam, performing the Haj is a blessed opportunity from the Almighty.
“MAS, together with Lembaga Tabung Haji, is committed to providing comprehensive superior and comfortable ground and in-flight services for the pilgrims. We hope that our services have provided the pilgrims a wonderful Haj experience,” he was quoted as saying.