The arrival of foreign Haj pilgrims is gaining momentum in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and flow is expected to increase. The civil aviation authorities have notified the Haj Ministry that only two entry points have been designated to receive pilgrims by air: the Prince Mohammed bin Abddulaziz International Airport in Madinah and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
In the past many private tour operators from South Asian countries sent individual pilgrims through King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. “But this year, Haj pilgrims will only be allowed entry into the Kingdom through the airports in Jeddah and Madinah,” said Khalid Al-Khaibary of the Civil Aviation authority.
Some 101,814 pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom as of last week from different parts of the world and with 26,001 pilgrims, the Indian contingent forms the largest block, according to statistics of the Haj Ministry.
“The Indian pilgrims arrived in Madinah on 91 flights,” said Indian Consul General B S Mubarak. He said that due to heavy floods in Kashmir, flights from Srinagar had been temporarily suspended and would be rescheduled.