Muslims pilgrimage to the holy sites in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called the Hajj. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and will occur from Monday, June 26, to Saturday, July 1, 2023.
Hajj dates to the 7th century and is still observed by millions of Muslims today. Mecca, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad in the late 6th century, holds a significant place in Islamic tradition. The Masjid Al-Haram Mosque, located in Mecca, houses the Kaaba, which is the center of the Hajj ritual. During the ritual, Muslims must make seven counterclockwise turns around the Kaaba, a practice known as circumambulation or tawaf.
Between 1950 and 2017, the number of pilgrims (Hajj and Umrah) jumped from 50,000 to 10,000,000.
Several airlines, such as Saudia, Royal Air Maroc, and Tunisair, have increased their capacity to carry pilgrims for the Hajj, starting at the end of June 2023 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The SAUDIA Group, which includes Saudi Airlines, flyadeal, and Saudi Private Aviation, has released its operational plan for the 2023 Hajj season and has made over 1.2 million seats worldwide available for pilgrims.
The flight plan of Saudia Group focuses on making the most out of their current fleet consisting of 164 aircraft. Additionally, they plan to add 12 more aircraft to their fleet. Their services transport pilgrims to over 100 regular and 14 seasonal destinations. They will also serve 6 airports in the Kingdom Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Medina, Taif, and Yanbu.
Tunisia, Morocco: Air capacity deployed for Hajj 2023
Royal Air Maroc has also set up a special program from Morocco to ensure the transportation of Moroccan pilgrims. The airline has set up an exceptional flight program: more than 33 seats on 54 flights operated by two jumbo jets connecting Moroccan cities to Jeddah and Medina will be set up to organize pilgrim movement to the holy places during Hajj.
On this occasion, the Tunisian authorities have also set up an exceptional air program to transport more than 10,500 pilgrims to and from the Holy Places through Tunisian airports. This program includes 44 flights with 3 daily flights, 22 of which will be operated by Tunisian Airlines to transport approximately 4,940 pilgrims