10,500 Haj Pilgrims Return to UAE in Two Days
On Sunday and Monday, thirty-two flights returned from the Saudi city of Jeddah, bringing back 10,500 Haj pilgrims to airports in the UAE, according to Gulf News.
Mohammed Lanjawi, director of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Middle East region, said that 9,340 passengers came in on Saudi Airlines and 1,200 traveled on Gulf Air.
"Yesterday, four Gulf Air flights arrived from Jeddah at Abu Dhabi, each carrying 300 passengers," said a Gulf Air spokesman.
"Nine flights will arrive today from Jeddah – three Emirates flights and six from Saudi Arabian Airlines. More flights bringing in Haj pilgrims are expected in the next three days," said Abdullah Al Ridha, member of a committee in charge of Haj and Umrah Affairs at the Dubai International Airport.
"There could be as many as five flights a day, and this schedule will be maintained till March 11, when the last flight back to the UAE from Jeddah is expected."
From March 2 onwards, Saudi Arabian Airlines will operate two additional flights for pilgrims going to the holy city of Makkah and then on to the holy city of Madinah.
Airport authorities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah were set on standby to greet the Haj pilgrims coming back from the holy city of Makkah Monday night.
"We have done all the necessary preparations to facilitate the huge movement of people from the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in addition to the regular airport traffic here," said a spokesperson at the Dubai International Airport. "We have been clearing Hajis in record time."
Meanwhile, religious scholars from the Dubai Department of Islamic Affairs and Endowment were also on hand to receive the pilgrims. They will continue to do so till March 11.
Al Ridha stated that the Saudi Arabian Airlines flights taken by the pilgrims traveled were of one uniform class. He also mentioned that everyone involved in sending off and receiving pilgrims had encountered no obstacles whatsoever.
"Everything went smoothly and as planned," he concluded. (Albawaba.com)