Saudi airports prepare to receive 1.7 million Hajj pilgrims

Foreign pilgrims arrive to Saudi airport before performing Hajj.
Photo Credit: Ministry of Hajj
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
3 Min Read

Six Saudi international airports, four of which are among world’s top 100 airports, are preparing to receive arrivals for the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

These airports will receive 1.7 million pilgrims during Hajj season, via 7,700 flights coming from the countries in the seven continents.

The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has upgraded its international airports, especially those receiving the guests of Allah, in cooperation with the Ministry of Hajj, the Saudi first line in the big Hajj system.

Four of these airports ranked up in world’s top 100 airports, during 2023, according to UK “Skytrax“, which reviews top 550 airlines and airports worldwide.

Geographical distribution was taken into consideration, while selecting the international and regional airports to receive pilgrims around the clock.

The steady rise in numbers


According to official releases of Saudi authorities, these airports will receive 7,700 flights transporting 1.7 million pilgrims during Hajj season, 2023.

GASTAT’s observation of thousands of pilgrims’ flights over the past years, shows that approximately 1.3 million pilgrims arrived by air during the 2014 season; a number not far from that accomplished in the following year.

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Numbers were, notably, increasing during Hajj season, 2018, where Saudi airports received 1.8 million pilgrims.

Foreign pilgrims, travelling to Saudi Arabia by air in 2019, were 93% of the total numbers which reached 1.7 million of foreign pilgrims.

Ministry of Hajj preparations


Hence, operation departments for Hajj and Umrah of “Ministry of Hajj” in the six airports, should effectively contribute to the operational plan with a high absorptive capacity.

They will serve the arriving pilgrims through the receivable process as well as and transporting them to their residences at the holy sites.

Due to its past experience in dealing with pilgrims, the Ministry of Hajj has taken proactive steps to support the facilitation process, effectively saving time and effort for other involved stakeholders and for the arriving pilgrims.

It launched awareness campaigns in the travellers’ countries, to introduce them to aviation local systems, customs, and directives concerning the necessary life skills, via using 11 languages, to ensure delivering its awareness messages clearly to the largest possible numbers. 

During an official occasion implemented by the Ministry in Jeddah on June 4, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Minister of Hajj and Umrah, stated that Saudi Arabia intends to increase the numbers of pilgrims during the upcoming years.

He added that this is in line with the “Saudi Vision 2030” which was recently launched by the Kingdom’s leadership.

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