World Airways will wet lease six Boeing MD-11 aircraft to Garuda Indonesia, to transport Muslims from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia for the annual Haj pilgrimage.
World will supply the aircraft, cockpit crews, maintenance and insurance from March through early May, 1998. Financial details of the contract are undisclosed.
"World is the most experienced provider of air transportation services for Haj movements," says World vice president Ahmad Khatib. "World has also provided services during the Haj on behalf of Malaysia, sub-Saharan African nations, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria and Brunei."
Garuda first sub-contracted World Airways aircraft in 1974, when Boeing 707 aircraft were leased in support of the Haj airlift.
According to the rules of Islam, believers are required to make the pilgrimage to Makkah - which most westerners know as Mecca - at least once in their lifetime, to express devotion for Allah while re-enacting man's philosophical journey through life.
"The Haj ritual is an occasion for defying all idols, whether it be money, love for worldly possessions, power and material pursuits," says Muslim journalist Siddiq Ghouse. "The Haj will go on until the end of time."