The first flights carrying foreign Hajj pilgrims arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as part of the Makkah Route initiative.
Six flights, carrying 1,900 pilgrims, arrived in the Kingdom. More flights will continue to land in Saudi Arabia through June 22.
Three flights, with 1,257 pilgrims from Bangladesh, arrived in Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, while three flights, with 735 pilgrims from Malaysia, arrived in Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport.
They were welcomed in the Kingdom by the concerned government and local agencies dedicated to serving the pilgrims.
The Makkah Route initiative was launched by the Interior Ministry five years ago as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It aims to facilitate the travel of the pilgrims throughout their entire holy journey.
The initiative covers, among others, the issuing of electronic visas, passport procedures from the departure country, health checks, and arranging accommodation in Saudi Arabia and airport transfers to Madinah and the holy city of Makkah.
The initiative currently covers seven countries: Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and, recently added, Türkiye and the Ivory Coast.
Deputy Minister for Hajj Affairs Dr. Ayed Algwinm was at the Jeddah airport to welcome the pilgrims from Bangladesh.
Chairman the Al Wukalla company for Hajj services Sahir Mattar said the Makkah Route initiative aims to reduce to 30 minutes the pilgrims’ arrival procedures at the airports and less than two hours for their departure.
Moreover, he revealed that women make up 60 percent of the Al Wukalla agents at the airport, while their entire staff is comprised of Saudi nationals.
The Ministry of Transport had declared that it has completed its preparations for this year’s Hajj season. It will provide safe and smooth travel for the pilgrims through various air, land and naval routes from the moment they arrive in the Kingdom and until their departure.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation has ensured that all safety and quality standards are in place at the airports and forms of transportation.
Saudi Arabia is expected to receive some 7,700 flights, carrying a total of a million pilgrims, airports in Jeddah, Madinah, Taif, Yanbu, Riyadh and al-Dammam for this year’s Hajj.