Dubai airline Emirates has announced that it operating extra flights to Jeddah specifically for pilgrims heading to and from Saudi Arabia for haj.
The airline will be operating 45 additional flights to Jeddah and 12 extra flights to Medina from August 17 until September 11, it said in a statement.
The services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah.
Emirates will also be operating its A380 to Medina to meet increased demand during the haj period, it said.
The additional services are available to travellers holding a valid haj visa.
On the ground, Emirates has also appointed a group of airport staff to facilitate the passenger ground experience for haj.
Dedicated check-in counters have also been set up for haj passengers in Dubai.
Onboard as well, extra provisions have been made for haj travellers to help them perform ablutions and inform them about Al Miqat and Ihram (the phase when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity), the statement said.
Emirates’ ice system will also feature a special haj video that covers safety, haj formalities and information about performing the pilgrimage. A Holy Quran channel is also available.
Meanwhile on flights back from Jeddah, haj passengers can also bring up to five litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold.
Adil Al Ghaith, SVP, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran said: “Travelling for haj is a unique experience for Muslims around the world, and we expect over 20,000 pilgrims to travel with us this year.”
This year, top inbound destinations Emirates is expecting haj pilgrims to come from are Yangon, Manchester, Mauritius, Jakarta, Karachi, Lagos and Nairobi.
The annual haj pilgrimage draws around two million Muslims from across the world every year.
On Wednesday, Saudi’s General Directorate of Passports confirmed that 781,390 pilgrims had so far arrived in the kingdom. Among them, 762,709 pilgrims arrived by air, 17,968 by land and 713 pilgrims by sea.