King Salman of Saudi Arabia lands in Indonesia with 459 tonnes of luggage and two mercedes

The royal was joined by 800 delegates and 620 staff 

Harriet Agerholm@HarrietAgerholm
Wednesday 01 March 2017 12:47
King Salman descends on one of his golden escalators from a plane
King Salman descends on one of his golden escalators from a plane

While the average plane passenger worries about exceeding their few kilograms of baggage allowance, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz landed in Indonesia with 459 metric tonnes of luggage.

Along with his 620 staff, he touched down in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation with two Mercedes-Benz saloon cars and two electric lifts, among hundreds of other goods.

The weight of those goods is equivalent of more than three blue whales’.

As well as his entourage, 800 delegates joined him on the royal visit, including 25 princes and 10 ministers.

The whole party needed 27 flights to get them to Jakarta and 10 more will be required to transport them to Bali – the next stop of the king's Asia tour – according to PT Jasa Angkasa Semesta (JAS), the freight firm which brought the goods.

The visit is the first by a Saudi monarch in almost half a century and will see the two nations sign an agreement to fight terrorism, according to the Saudi envoy to Indonesia.

Secular Indonesia has grown increasingly concerned about security, after several attacks over the past year which it has blamed followers of Isis.

It has deployed at least 9,000 police and military for the visit, with roads closed to traffic and snipers positioned along the route of the king's convoy.

The 81-year-old ruler descended slowly on his personal escalator from the plane, where he was met by Indonesian President Joko Widodo who escorted him along a red carpet flanked by guards to a limousine.

King Salman will hold talks with Mr Widodo and attend a reception. He will also meet religious leaders and visit Southeast Asia's biggest mosque, Istiqlal, before heading to the vacation island of Bali for more than a week.

Indonesia hopes to attract billions of dollars of investment from the kingdom, though the trip will also focus on building cultural and religious ties and promoting education.

Saudi Arabia aims to open more Islamic schools in Indonesia, which will teach religion using the Arabic language, and increase the number of scholarships for students.

"This is a very close, tight, and friendly relation," Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said in February.

The king's visit to Indonesia also comes as fringe Islamist extremist groups grow in influence and Muslim leaders take an increasingly strict line on Islamic issues, which is at odds with Indonesia's traditional brand of moderate Islam.

Indonesian police killed a militant earlier this week after he detonated a small bomb in the West Java city of Bandung.

Security officials said they were investigating whether he had links to a radical network sympathetic to Isis.

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