Sat, 25 Jan 2003

1,500 haj pilgrims stranded

JAKARTA: Around 1,500 Indonesian haj pilgrims are stranded at Soekarno-Hatta airport as the airline company that is to transport them to Saudi Arabia failed to ensure their scheduled departures.

The passengers condemned Indonesian Airlines on Friday as the flight delays had been occurring since Wednesday and no explanations had been given by the company.

"We were scheduled to leave on Wednesday, but we are still here as Indonesian Airlines has yet to confirm our departure," one of the passengers, Agus, said on Friday.

Airport police chief Adj. Comr. Sri Suari Wahyudi confirmed that around 1,500 passengers were staying in different places around the airport waiting for their departures.

Indonesian Airlines is the only company besides national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia that is authorized to carry Indonesian haj pilgrims this season. --Antara