KUCHING, A workshop operator Wan Azizul Wan Zainal Abidin, 40, still hopes to be able to perform his umrah pilgrimage, even though he was disappointed when his original flight, scheduled today, was cancelled following the volcano eruption of Mount Ruang, Indonesia. Speaking to Bernama, Wan Azizul, who was accompanied by his wife Nurul Hidayah Abdullah, 39, said that this was their first trip to perform umrah and he did not expect to face such an obstacle before being able to set foot in the Holy Land. 'The flight was originally scheduled to depart at 1.30 pm, but at about 8 this morning I received an SMS (short message service) stating that the flight was cancelled, and our departure time had been moved to 3.15 pm. 'This afternoon I received another SMS saying that the 3.15 pm flight was also cancelled, and now I hope that the next flight, at 8.45 pm, will be able to depart," said Wan Azizul, who had been waiting at Kuching International Airport (KIA) since 9.30 am. He added that the cancellation of the f light also caused the direct flight which they were supposed to take, from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Jeddah tomorrow to be cancelled, and thus far, they have been rescheduled to use another flight from KLIA, with a transit in Jakarta first, before continuing to Jeddah. Wan Azizul and his wife were among thousands of passengers stranded at the airport, following the cancellation of Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Batik Air flights between Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak, following the volcanic eruption of Mount Ruang in Indonesia's North Sulawesi region. Meanwhile, another passenger, Juliana Jering, 48, who was in the city for a few days to accompany her husband undergoing treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital, was visibly upset as the cancellation of the flight was only announced when they were waiting to depart for Bintulu. 'My husband just got out of the General Hospital this morning and has to undergo follow-up treatment at the Bintulu hospital. Now we have to refer back to the hos pital for the next step," she told Bernama. Passenger Muhammad Iqbal Zolkipli, 39, claimed not to have received any email or notification from the airline regarding the cancellation of his flight, and only found out about the matter when he arrived at the airport this afternoon. "The officer on duty also informed us that the situation may continue until tomorrow; thus far there is nothing that can be done, and we have to accept the situation," he said. He added that passengers affected by flight cancellations need to go to the ticket counter to update details, and need to make a one-time change to any new travel date within 30 days of the departure date. Meanwhile, a check by Bernama at Sibu Airport this afternoon found that not many passengers were still waiting for their flights. Most of those who were supposed to depart from the airport today have returned home, after changing their flights with the airlines involved. Businessman, BC Tan, 77, said that he found out about today's flight cancellation a t about 8.30 this morning. Another businessman, Ang Puay Koon, 67, from Singapore, said that he had to wait one more night in Sibu for the next flight to Kota Kinabalu. 'However, it is not certain yet when flights will operate as usual. We have to wait until the situation permits,' he said. A Sibu Airport employee, who declined to be identified, said that all passengers understood the situation, and calmly changed their flights to other dates. He said that five flights were able to take off this morning before the cancellation order was issued. 'Two flights - AirAsia and Batik Air - departed for Kuala Lumpur, while two MasWings planes departed for Miri and an AirAsia plane departed for Kuching,' he said. Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the airlines are responsible for helping stranded passengers following the cancellation of their flights. He said that the volcanic eruption was a natural disaster beyond human control and safety a spects should be the priority of all parties. 'All those who are stranded, there will be another flight for them to take once flight operation is allowed to resume. For now, safety factor needs to be prioritised,' he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house, today. Source: BERNAMA News Agency