Dubai airline Emirates will operate an additional 46 flights to Jeddah and Madinah during the Hajj season.
The flights will be operated between July 27 and August 22, the airline announced.
The services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah and Madinah, and will be available to travellers holding a valid Hajj visa.
This year, Emirates expects thousands of pilgrims to travel on its services for Hajj, coming from destinations such as Pakistan, the United States, Senegal, the UK, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa and Ivory Coast, it said.
The airline also said it taking specific measures to cater to Hajj travellers.
On the ground in Dubai, Emirates has commissioned a dedicated team to manage check-in and transfers for Hajj passengers leaving from and transiting in Dubai.
Onboard flights, extra provisions will be made to accommodate Hajj traveller needs such as performing ablutions and other cleansing rituals as well as advising passengers when they have entered Al Miqat zones to ensure readiness for Ihram (the point when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity).
The airline will also provide extra blankets and unperfumed hot towels.
Emirates’ ice system will also feature a special Hajj video that covers safety, formalities and information about performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel during their journey.
On flights from Jeddah, Hajj passengers can bring up to five litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold.
Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ SVP, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran said: “Hajj is one of the most significant events in the Muslim faith, and every year, Emirates’ primary focus is to help facilitate seamless travel for our Hajj passengers.
“With the substantial increase of inbound air travel into the kingdom during this period, Emirates’ 46 extra flights will ensure that we can cater to that demand.”
Over 2.3 million people from across the world performed the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia last year. This year, the Hajj is predicted to begin on August 9.