By Samson Echenim
Emirates says it will be operating 33 additional flights to Jeddah and Medina from 6 to 31 August to support the journey for pilgrims expected to travel to the Holy City of Mecca during Hajj this year as 1,314 Nigerians join Hajj between July 1 and August 1, 2019.
The airline said it is helping to help facilitate travel for pilgrims heading to and from Jeddah and Medina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj by operating extra flights to both cities for the exercise.
These services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services to Jeddah and Medina.
These additional flight services according to the airline are available to travellers holding a valid Hajj visa.
This year, top inbound destinations Emirates is expecting Hajj pilgrims to come from are Pakistan, Senegal, the United States, the UK, Australia, Indonesia, the Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran said: “Hajj travel is an extraordinary journey for Muslims which leaves them with a lifetime of memorable experiences, and we expect over 25,000 pilgrims to travel with Emirates this year. With the significant demand for air travel during this period, Emirates is deploying extra flights to ensure more seamless connections for the scores of pilgrims making their way to the Holy City of Mecca. During their journey, we aim to provide our customers with the best experience that is aligned with the pillars of their faith, particularly during this significant period.”
On the ground in Dubai, Emirates has a dedicated airport team whose purpose is to seamlessly facilitate the passenger ground experience for Hajj.
In addition, dedicated check-in and transfer counters will be set up for Hajj passengers transiting in Dubai.
In the air, several initiatives have been planned in keeping with the values and traditions that pilgrims uphold when travelling for Hajj.
Extra provisions have been provided 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.
Emirates’ award winning ice system will also feature a special Hajj video that covers safety, Hajj formalities and information about performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel.
The airline stated that 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, Hajj passengers will enjoy extra generous Emirates baggage allowance of up to 35kg in Economy Class, 40kg in Business Class and 50kg in First Class.