First groups of pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s Hajj - GulfToday

First groups of pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia to attend this year’s Hajj


Saudi officials welcome pilgrims at the airport on Thursday. X photo

Gulf Today Report

The first groups of Muslim pilgrims from several countries, including Pakistan and India, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Thursday ahead of next month’s Hajj.

Among them were 283 pilgrims from India, who were welcomed upon arrival at Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah by the Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Saleh Bin Nasser Al Jasser, and the Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Abdel Fattah Bin Sulaiman Mashat.

The first Hajj pilgrims from Pakistan also arrived in the Holy City of Madinah, where they were welcomed by the Pakistani Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ahmad Farooq, Consul General Khalid Majid and senior Saudi officials.


The pilgrims arrived on flights from Karachi, Multan, Lahore and Islamabad. More than 2,100 were expected to arrive in Madinah on the first day, and the total number of Pakistani pilgrims expected to perform Hajj this year is 179,210. Pakistani officials said they have prepared the necessary accommodation for the pilgrims and will provide them with all required services and facilities, including a medical mission comprising 500 medical staff, including doctors and specialists.


The first Hajj flight from Bangladesh, carrying 415 pilgrims, landed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Thursday.

Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary and several other officials welcomed the pilgrims at the airport.


The first flight for the beneficiaries of the Makkah Route Initiative departed from the Republic of Turkey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the initiative’s lounge at Istanbul International Airport, heading to Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah. The airport ensured quick and smooth entry procedures for the arriving guests.

The Ministry of Interior has launched the Makkah Route Initiative as part of the Pilgrim Experience Program, a broader initiative under Saudi Vision 2030 to enhance pilgrims' Hajj journey.


The initiative streamlines the Hajj process for participants by allowing them to complete the necessary procedures from their home country. These processes include issuing electronic visas, collecting biometric data, and verifying health requirements before departure from the airport.

Additionally, luggage will be coded and sorted based on pre-arranged transportation and accommodation arrangements in Saudi Arabia to ensure a smooth experience.


Upon arrival, pilgrims are whisked away on dedicated buses to their residences in Makkah and Madinah, with their luggage delivered by service agencies, according to the SPA report.

Also on Thursday, the first batch of pilgrims from South Africa arrived in Jeddah.

Saudi’s Minister Al Jasser stressed that the kingdom’s transport system is committed to providing the highest level of services for pilgrims since their arrival, during their stay to undertake Hajj rites, and until their departure for home.


Preparations include providing 7,700 flights at six Saudi airports and readying more than 27,000 buses in the kingdom to facilitate pilgrims’ transportation during the holy journey, Al Jasser said, according to the Saudi news agency SPA reported.

Saudia Group announces its operational plan for Hajj Season 2024, aimed at facilitating the transportation of pilgrims from around the world, streamlining all procedures and providing top-notch services at various service locations. Over 1.2 million seats have been allocated through optimal investment in its fleet of more than 150 aircraft, distinguished by operational efficiency and quality services. This initiative is in line with the directives of Saudi leadership, supported by collaboration with various entities involved in serving Hajj pilgrims.

Saudia Group will welcome Hajj pilgrims through five domestic airports, including Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh, Dammam, and Yanbu, with more than 11,000 frontline employees and aircraft maintenance technicians, ensuring smooth flow of movement at the airports as well as operational efficiency.


Additionally, 120,000 pilgrims will be served through the "Makkah Route” initiative which is designed to streamline the immigration process for pilgrims to Makkah. Saudia will also continue its "Luggage First” service, and 270,000 bags will be handled as well as 240,000 Zamzam bottles.

Amer Al Khushail, CEO of Saudia Hajj and Umrah, said: "The national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia is honored to continue its pivotal role in serving pilgrims, ensuring their spiritual journey is enriched in line with the objectives of Vision 2030. Each year, we integrate the efforts across all sectors as we strive to enhance pilgrims’ satisfaction by implementing initiatives that streamline arrival procedures and airport check-in processes.”

"In preparation for the Hajj season, Saudia is committed to signing agreements with government delegations and travel agents, to ensure providing appropriate seat capacity for markets with high demand across over a hundred destinations in four continents. We offer seamless bookings through Saudia’s offices and online channels, we have also designed awareness campaigns regarding luggage acceptance criteria," added Al Khashil.

Hajj is expected to begin on or around June 14 and conclude on June 19.

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