RIYADH – In a significant announcement, the authorities in Saudi Arabia have revealed the schedule of flights for the upcoming Hajj.
According to Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the meticulously crafted schedule, designed to accommodate the influx of international pilgrims, is set to begin operations on May 9 of this year. This marks the commencement of an extraordinary journey for millions of faithful pilgrims worldwide, as the first inbound flights from participating countries are expected to touch down.
The arrival of the final inbound flight on June 10, this year, will signify the conclusion of the initial phase of airlift operations for the pilgrimage, symbolizing a momentous milestone in the annual pilgrimage process.
As the religious observances draw to a close, the outbound flights are scheduled to commence on June 20, 2024, facilitating the return of pilgrims to their respective homelands. This phase of the operation will continue until July 21, this year. By that time, the last group of pilgrims is expected to depart from Saudi Arabia, marking the culmination of the annual Islamic pilgrimage.
This scheduling is a crucial part of the preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The kingdom announces its anticipation of welcoming a historic number of pilgrims this year, affirming that all arrangements have been concluded in this regard.
Regarding seat allocation, Pakistan has secured approximately 179,000 Hajj seats and half of these will be filled by private Hajj operators.
As far as the details of Hajj 2024 are concerned, the government has introduced a short Hajj package, ensuring completion within 25 days. Priced at Rs 80, 000 more than the Long Hajj package, the cost for Short Hajj stands at Rs 1,140, 000 for individuals from the southern region(Burewala, Bhakkar, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Jhang, and Dera Ghazi Khan) and Rs 1,150, 000 for those from the northern areas (Mansehra, Naran, Kaghan, Gilgit, Chilas, Passu and Karimabad).
For the Long Hajj package, pilgrims will have an extended journey lasting up to 42 days, with eight of those days spent in Medinah. Departing from southern parts like Karachi, Quetta, and Sukkur, the cost of this experience is Rs 1,065,000. For those departing from the northern parts (Mansehra, Naran, Kaghan, Gilgit, Chilas, Passu, and Karimabad) the cost is slightly higher at Rs 1,075, 000.
Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, obligatory for all Muslims who can afford it. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Pilgrims perform a series of rituals, symbolizing unity, equality, and spiritual cleansing.