Marking the beginning of the Hajj Season of 2018, foreign pilgrims began arriving in the Kingdom on Saturday (July 14 /Dhul Qada 1), with the first batch of pilgrims arriving from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
On Saturday, a Biman Airlines plane, carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims, landed at the Hajj and Umrah terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport while a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight from New Delhi and a Pakistan International Airlines plane from Karachi touched down at Prince Muhammad International Airport Madinah. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah officials were on hand to receive the first Hajj flight this year 1439H arriving from Pakistan Saturday morning in Madinah with 321 pilgrims on board. This was followed Saturday by some 30 Hajj flights carrying pilgrims of various nationalities amid a system of integrated services being provided by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
The pilgrims were welcomed warmly with Ajwa dates and Madinah roses, a sign of deep-rooted generous Saudi hospitality for the Guests of Allah. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for Ziyarah Affairs in Madinah and Supervisor General of the Electronic Track for Overseas Pilgrims Muhammad Bin Abdulrahman Al-Bijawi said the ministry is exerting its utmost efforts in carrying out the strategies and plans so as to upgrade its services to facilitate matters for the pilgrims and enable them to perform their rites with ease and peace of mind.
The first Hajj flight from New Delhi, India carrying 410 Hajjis arrived at Madinah airport today at 1.56 p.m., an hour earlier than scheduled time. The pilgrims were welcomed by Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed and Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh. The Deputy Consul General and Consul (Hajj) Mohd Shahid Alam was also present.
King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah received on Saturday via its Hajj Terminal the first Hajj flight coming from Bangladesh with 419 pilgrims on board. The flight's passengers were received by the Deputy President of the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) Sulaiman Bin Hamad Al-Bassam; the Director General of KAIA Issam Fuad and a number of officials of the government and operation sectors working in the airport.
Pakistan's Hajj operation Director General Hajj Sajid Yousufani, Deputy Director Farooq Rasheed, Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia PIA Country Manager Waqar Naseer, and Saudi Hajj officials received the pilgrims at the airport.
Another 186 pilgrims reached the King Abdul Aziz Airport Jeddah from Islamabad through PK-741. Pakistani Consulate Officers welcomed them at Jeddah airport. Director Hajj Mohammad Imtiaz, Consul Fauzia Fayyaz Ahmed, Minister Coordination Javed Rafiq, HOC Atif Dar, welcomed the Hajj pilgrims.
Saudi Deputy Minister Hajj Abdullah Al-Fataah, Chairman Moassassa Dr. Raaf-iBadar, Chairman Maktabul Wukala, Dr. Farooq Bukhari, DG Hajj Marwan Sulemani and other Saudi officials were also present on this occasion. On this occasion, pilgrims were offered Zamzam water, dates and prayer mats by the Saudi authorities. In total 1,84,210 Pakistanis will come to Saudi Arabia for Hajj-2018 in more than 450 flights. Pakistan's
A total of 6,072 Hajj flights will be operated, of which 3,383 will be through the Jeddah airport and 2,689 through the Madinah airport. All pilgrims from Malaysia and a section of pilgrims from Indonesia will have their immigration pre-clearance facility from their embarkation points for this year's Hajj. The Proof of Concept (POC) System for pre-clearance at the point of departure to Saudi Arabia is being implemented in coordination with the Saudi, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities.
The uniform electronic path service dubbed 'Makkah Road Service' will be launched from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette prior to the arrival of the pilgrims, Sheikh said the first Hajj flight from India to Jeddah will be on July 29 and there will be 420 pilgrims on board the Air India flight from Chennai. He said that a total of 234 flights will be operated to transport 67,302 pilgrims to Madinah and 209 flights to Jeddah to carry 61,400 pilgrims. He said that the Indian Hajj Mission has linked all its hospitals and branch dispensaries in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah as well as at the Jeddah airport Hajj terminal with an online software system for the first time.
Sheikh noted that a total of 1,300 women pilgrims are coming for Hajj without a mahram (male blood relative) for this year's Hajj for the first time. Anticipating high temperature during Hajj, the Indian Mission has made arrangements to supply tri-colored umbrellas with India written on both sides to every pilgrim, he added.
Source: International Islamic News Agency