Pilgrims have started to return home to the UAE after performing the first post-pandemic Hajj.
On Tuesday, nearly 850 passengers landed at Dubai Airport Terminal 1. They flew on special Hajj flights operated by Emirates and Saudia Airline.
Last year, visitors were not permitted to perform Hajj due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA) made special arrangements to handle the increased number of passengers.
The returning travellers were assisted with check-out, immigration and security procedures.
Lt Gen Mohammed Al Marri, general director of GDRFA, said more pilgrims are expected to arrive on Tuesday and in the coming days.
“We instructed to finish the procedures quickly for the pilgrims. Today, we welcomed back 850 pilgrims,” he said.
Smart gates and “smart tunnels” allowed passengers to clear passport control in a couple of minutes.
“With the increasing number of passengers practically during holidays and Hajj season, using latest technologies like smart gates and tunnels helped to finish the passenger’s journey smoothly in a record time,” Lt Gen Al Marri said.
Special fast-track services were also provided to travellers when they went to Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the month.
Covid rules for people returning from Hajj
Earlier this month, the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority issued safety guidelines for the Hajj season.
People returning from Hajj are encouraged to take an optional test on arrival followed by a mandatory test on day four.
They should quarantine for seven days at home.
This year, Hajj was restricted to only those who have not performed it before and those under the age of 65.