Hajj 2019: First flights of pilgrims take off from Dubai

More than 6,000 UAE citizens will take part in the annual pilgrimage

First flight for this year's hajj. Courtesy Dubai Airports

The first planes carrying pilgrims from the UAE to Hajj have left Dubai.

Sixty worshippers boarded two flights bound for the kingdom from Dubai International Airport on Wednesday.

A total of 6,626 citizens will be embarking on the spiritual journey this year, 2,300 of whom will be  travelling from Dubai.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and millions of Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia every year to take part.

Mohammad Al Marzouqi, head of Terminal Two and the Hajj Committee at Dubai Airports, said pilgrims must ensure they arrive at the airport four hours before the flight to ensure they have adequate time to be processed.

"Make sure all your documentation is valid and you have your passport and Emirates ID, and vaccination cards," said Mr Al Marzouqi.

"We have set up dedicated check-in counters, immigration counters, security machines and special gates for Hajj flights," he said.

"We welcomed the pilgrims and had some gifts for them including first aid kits, sunblock lotion etc. The pilgrims were very happy and the process was smooth.

"The largest delegation of pilgrims from Dubai will leave on Friday on an Emirates flight."

Preparations have also been made to support flying to Saudi Arabia from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airways increased the number of flights from Abu Dhabi to Saudi Arabia from July 28, with the additional services on offer until August 25 to meet the rise in demand.

Last year, more than 6,200 muslims performed Hajj from the UAE whereas in 2017, 4,600 muslims from the UAE performed Hajj.

Earlier this week, Palestinian pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.