Saudia Airlines had adopted its operational plan for the 2023 Hajj pilgrimage.
Amer Alkhushail, Chief Hajj and Umrah Officer at SAUDIA Group, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the airline will operate 148 planes during the Hajj to transport 1.2 million pilgrims from across the globe.
Flyadeal, an airline owned by Saudia, will also be used for the first time to transport the pilgrims to the holy sites, he revealed. It will dedicate eight planes to the pilgrims, flying 40,000 from around the world to the Kingdom.
Flights arriving in the Kingdom will land at the Jeddah, Madinah, Al-Dammam, Riyadh, Yanbu and Taif airports. Pilgrims are flying in from 114 countries. They are also arriving through land and marine crossings.
Alkhushail said the majority of pilgrims will arrive through airports.
He revealed that Saudia has introduced 14 new flights to countries with a high Muslim population, such as Indonesia and India.
In a first, the Kingdom will also receive flights transporting Hajj and Umrah pilgrims at the same time. Alkhushail explained that this step is in line with Vision 2030 and the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister.
The move will allow for the greatest number of pilgrims to perform the Hajj and Umrah, he added.
Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Alkhushail revealed that Saudia is leasing new modern planes, accounting to nearly ten percent of its fleet, in service of the Hajj. This will ensure that already scheduled flights and additional flights will not be affected by the Hajj and also provide the necessary air travel options to international pilgrims.
Onboard the flights, Saudia offers nearly 45,000 minutes of awareness and cultural programs for the pilgrims in 14 different languages.