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KSA witnesses rise in pilgrims

The number of pilgrims arriving via air, land and sea entry points reached 1.07 million, an increase of 204,302, or a 24% increase compared to the same period last year. The numbers of pilgrims arriving by air, land, and sea were 1.015 million, 50,554 and 4,915 respectively, according to data released by the General Directorate of Passports.

The number of pilgrims arriving in Madinah stood at 32,468, while those leaving the city for Makkah reached 24,073, according to National Guides Establishment in Madinah. The number of pilgrims who remained in Madinah up to 27 August 2017 evening reached 201,101, compared to 175,676 in the same period last year.

Emirates to deploy extra flights for Hajj season

Emirates will be operating extra flights to Jeddah to help facilitate travel for thousands of pilgrims this year heading to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

The airline will be operating 45 additional flights to Jeddah and 12 additional flights to Medina from 17 August until 11 September to help serve the two million pilgrims expected to travel this year. These services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah. Emirates will also be operating its A380 to Medina which will also support increased demand during this period.

The additional services are available to travellers holding a valid Hajj visa.

This year, top inbound destinations Emirates is expecting Hajj pilgrims to come from are Yangon, Manchester, Mauritius, Jakarta, Karachi, Lagos and Nairobi.

On the ground, the airline has appointed a dedicated group of airport staff to facilitate passenger ground experience for Hajj. In addition, dedicated check-in counters have been set up for Hajj passengers in Dubai. In the air, several initiatives have been planned in keeping with values and traditions that pilgrims uphold when travelling for Hajj. Extra provisions will be made to accommodate Hajj 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. Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel.

On flights from Jeddah, Hajj passengers can bring up to five litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in cargo hold. Hajj passengers will also get extra baggage allowance of up to 35kg in economy class, 40kg in business class and 50kg in first class.