Dubai Airports ready to handle Hajj rush

Dedicated check-in, immigration counters and departure gates set up for people travelling to Saudi Arabia

Muslim pilgrims arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. AFP
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Related: Hajj 2022: dates, packages, Covid rules and all you need to know

Airports in Dubai are fully prepared and equipped to deal with the Hajj rush, authorities said on Monday.

A special committee of Dubai Police, immigration authorities, customs, health authorities and airlines have made special arrangements to handle the increased number of passengers at all terminals.

There will be dedicated counters at check-in, immigration, and security, while special departure gates have also been set up to accommodate passengers travelling on Hajj flights.

Mohammad Al Marzouqi, head of the Hajj Committee at Dubai Airports, said passengers must arrive at the airport four hours before their scheduled departure to ensure they have adequate time to complete travel procedures.

“We urge all pilgrims to check that they have the required valid documents and ensure they have their passport, Emirates ID, vaccinations cards and Hajj Permit ready before they arrive at the airport," he said.

"As always, we are also arranging some gifts including umbrellas, copies of the holy Quran, and first-aid kits to welcome the Hajjis at DXB.

"It will be an exceptionally busy period at the airport due to the seasonal rush and we want our guests to have the smoothest experience possible."

Hajj is expected to begin on July 7, with Eid Al Adha likely to begin on July 9 in most Islamic countries.

Saudi Arabia is allowing up to 1 million people to perform Hajj this year, welcoming foreign pilgrims for the first time since 2019, after Covid-19 restrictions meant it was limited to the kingdom's residents only.

Emirates is scheduling additional flights to Jeddah and Madinah during the Hajj season.

The airline will operate 31 extra flights to Jeddah, as well as double daily flights to Madinah from June 23 to July 20. These services will run in parallel with regular scheduled services.

Saudia will operate the first official Hajj flight from Dubai, departing from DXB with a Dubai government delegation for Madinah on June 30.

Emirates is reporting strong demand for Hajj travel from Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malaysia, the UK, the US, the UAE and Algeria.

More than 266,000 pilgrims have already arrived in the holy city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia, figures published by the Saudi Press Agency on Sunday showed.

A total of 215,580 people have landed at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah since Hajj flights started to arrive, while 17,774 pilgrims are thought to have arrived in Saudi Arabia having travelled over land.

Covid-19 rules for Hajj this year

Authorities have set out health requirements that Hajj pilgrims from outside the kingdom have to meet before landing in the country.

During Hajj, pilgrims will have to wear masks when visiting the Two Holy Mosques.

“Pilgrims have been asked to avoid unnecessary social gatherings and travel,” a Hajj organiser told The National.

“Pilgrims will be provided with bedsheets, umbrellas, any other basic necessities once they arrive. They have to maintain social distancing, good hygiene and follow local health guidelines.”

Saudi's General Authority of Civil Aviation has said Hajj passengers must be aged under 65, fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and submit a negative result from a PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before their departure flight.

Muslims leaving for Hajj 2022 – in pictures

Updated: June 30, 2022, 7:35 AM