More than 100 haj pilgrims from S’pore stranded in plane for hours before being told to go home
More than 100 Muslim pilgrims from Singapore were stranded in their plane at Changi Airport for over four hours before they were told to disembark on Friday morning, reported Berita Harian.
The pilgrims were set to depart for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to perform the annual pilgrimage in Mecca.
The Saudia flight, SV3621, was scheduled to leave Changi Airport at around 4.30am and arrive in Jeddah at around 12pm on Friday. Saudia is formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines.
An affected pilgrim, Mr Suffian Apandi, 40, told Berita Harian: “I actually fell asleep because the gathering time was very early this morning.
“So when I woke up again, I was very surprised that when I looked out of the window, we were still on the runway and had not taken off.”
At around 9am, all passengers were asked to disembark from the plane, which appeared to have experienced technical issues.
The Straits Times has contacted Saudia and Changi Airport for more information.
The affected pilgrims booked their trips with Hahnemann Travel and Tours, TM Fouzy Travel and Tours, and Shahidah Travel and Tours.
A spokesman from Hahnemann Travel told ST that the agency is aware of the incident, and was informed about the mechanical error by the airline.
The passengers were offered coupons and complimentary breakfast as compensation, he added.
They have also been informed to return to the airport at midnight to take the rescheduled flight at 3am on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia allocates 900 places for Singaporean pilgrims to perform the haj every year.
The last group of pilgrims are expected to leave for Jeddah on Saturday, as the haj rituals are set to begin late on Sunday at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.