Emirates is deploying extra flights during Hajj 2022 to meet the rising demand for air travel.
In a statement, Emirates said that it will be deploying 31 additional flights to Jeddah and double daily flights to Medina from June 23 to July 20, 2022 to help transport pilgrims to Mecca. These services will run in parallel with Emirates’ regularly scheduled services.
Mecca, a desert valley in the Western region of Saudi Arabia, is the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed, and is considered to be the holiest city by the Islamic faith.
The Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca, which every adult Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime.
In 2019, the Hajj received more than 2.5 million pilgrims. In 2020, only 1,000 pilgrims were allowed into Mecca due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) limited attendance to just 60,000. For the Hajj in 2022, a lottery system will be used to control attendance numbers.
Emirates said that this year it has seen strong demand for Hajj travel from Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malaysia, the UK, US, UAE and Algeria.
Aside from increasing flights during Hajj, Emirates is also working on making the journey to Mecca a convenient experience for pilgrims.
For instance, Emirates has a special Hajj airport team to help manage check-in, transfers, and convenient ground experience for Hajj pilgrims. Emirates has also set up dedicated check-in and transfer counters for Hajj passengers transiting in Dubai. For Hajj travelers with a longer layover in Dubai before continuing on to Jeddah or Medina, dedicated teams are on hand to escort those groups and support them on all of their arrival logistics.
Emirates said that extra provisions like unperfumed hand towels and religious channels on IFE. Passengers can also check-in up to 5 liters of holy water, which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold.
For the Hajj pilgrimage this year, the KSA has set the attendance number to 1 million.