Jeddah: King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Hajj terminal in Jeddah and Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah have completed all preparations for receiving pilgrims who will start arriving at these airports from Thursday (Dhul Qada 1), the first day of the Hajj season of 2016.
The first flight carrying pilgrims from New Delhi will land Thursday at 5.30 p.m.at Madinah airport. A total of 1,36,020 Indians will perform Hajj this year.
For the coming period of two and a half months, the airports are expected to receive around 1.4 million pilgrims from all over the world.
More than 7,000 staff, representing 27 government and private agencies, will be involved in implementing the Hajj plan.
According to the plan, all the lounges of the Hajj terminal will be converted into arrival lounges from Dhul Qada 1 till Dhul Hijja 4 (Aug. 4 – Sept. 5) and departure lounges from Dhul Hijjah 16 to Muharram 15 (Sept. 17 to Oct. 16).
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in coordination with the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and other agencies, has prepared a plan in line with the directive of the Saudi leadership, to fast-track the arrival procedures by taking advantage of the e-track system.
Upon arrival at the terminal, officials from the Ministry of Health will receive pilgrims and give them necessary health guidelines and services, and then they will proceed to the Passport Control to complete immigration procedures.
The Hajj terminal is spread over 90,000 square meters of roofed area and 160,000 sq. meters of open area.
There are 142 counters for Passports (Jawazat) and 120 counters of the Ministry of Hajj. At Madinah airport, officials of the government and private departments serving pilgrims met to finalize the Hajj operation plan.
It is expected that the airport will receive a total of 2,678 Hajj flights, a five percent increase over last year.
Meanwhile, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah and adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and chairman of the Central Hajj Committee, met Minister of Hajj Muhammad Saleh Bantan at his office in Jeddah on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Prince Khaled was briefed on the second phase of the e-track and e-bracelet systems for pilgrims and GPS system for pilgrims’ buses.