Dubai: Emirates announced that it will be deploying extra flights this year for the upcoming Haj season.
As many as two million Haj pilgrims from around the world are expected to visit the holy city of Makkah for Haj in 2017.
The additional flights will help facilitate travel for thousands of pilgrims heading to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the airline said.
Emirates said it will be operating 45 additional flights to Jeddah and 12 additional flights to Madinah from August 17 until September 11 to help serve the pilgrims.
These services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah. The airline will also be operating its A380 to Madinah which will also support the increased demand during this period. The additional services are available to travellers holding a valid Haj visa.
“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,” said Adel Al Gaith, senior vice-president, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.
This year, top inbound destinations Emirates is expecting Haj pilgrims to come from are Yangon, Manchester, Mauritius, Jakarta, Karachi, Lagos and Nairobi.
With a sizeable increase in demand for air travel during this period, Al Gaith added Emirates is helping to make the journey more seamless for the scores of pilgrims making their way to Makkah.
“Whether it’s in the air or on the ground, Emirates aims to provide all its customers with the best experience in line with their faith, particularly at this significant time and important journey.”
On the ground, Emirates has appointed a dedicated group of airport staff to seamlessly facilitate the passenger ground experience for Haj. In addition, dedicated check-in counters have been set up for Haj passengers in Dubai.
In the air, several initiatives have been planned in keeping with the values and traditions that pilgrims uphold when travelling for Haj. Extra provisions will be made to accommodate Haj traveller needs such as performing ablutions, advising passengers about Al Miqat and Ihram (the phase when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity) and other arrangements that will help ease their journey.
Emirates’ ICE system will also feature a special Haj video that covers safety, Haj formalities and information about performing the pilgrimage. Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel.
On flights from Jeddah, Haj passengers can bring up to five litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold. As with all Emirates flights, Haj passengers will be allowed extra Emirates baggage allowance of up to 35kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50kg in First Class.