Emirates will introduce 46 additional flights to and from Jeddah and Madinah between July 27 and August 22, to facilitate travel for thousands of Hajj pilgrims.
The new flights will run alongside Emirates’s existing services to the Saudi cities, and will be open to all travellers holding a valid Hajj visa. The airline is expecting to cater to thousands of pilgrims this year, from destinations such as Pakistan, the United States, Senegal, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.
To encourage the smooth transit of pilgrims flying from and through Dubai, the airline is also enhancing its on-ground services, with a dedicated team to manage the check-in and transfer of Hajj travellers. Onboard, the airline will advise passengers when they have entered “Al Miqat” zones to ensure readiness for “Ihram” (the point when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity) with dedicated passenger announcements.
Pilgrims will also be able to watch a special video that covers safety, formalities and information about performing the Hajj pilgrimage, or listen to the Holy Quran, on Emirates’s entertainment system. Extra blankets and unperfumed hot towels will be provided. On flights from Jeddah, Hajj passengers will be entitled to bring up to five litres of holy water back with them, which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold.
“Hajj is one of the most significant events in the Muslim faith, and every year, Emirates’s primary focus is to help facilitate seamless travel for our Hajj passengers as they converge on the Holy City of Makkah for this once-in-a-lifetime journey. With the substantial increase of inbound air travel into the Kingdom during this period, Emirates’s 46 extra flights will ensure that we can cater to that demand, as well as provide tailored onboard services in line with the tenets of Hajj,” says Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’s senior vice president, commercial operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.
Each year, millions of Muslims travel to Makkah to perform Hajj, with many also travelling on north to the city of Madinah. Last year, more than 6,200 Muslims performed Hajj from the UAE, up from 4,600 the previous year.