Indian pilgrims being welcomed at Medina’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz airport. Image Credit: SPA

Cairo: The first flight carrying overseas Muslims due to attend next month’s annual Hajj pilgrimage arrived Thursday in the Saudi holy city of Medina.

Some 283 pilgrims were aboard the Saudia flight that had taken off from India and touched down at the Medina’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz airport.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services Saleh Al Jasser and Deputy Minister of Hajj Abdul Fattah Mashat were on hand to welcome the arrivals.

Al Jasser stressed that the kingdom’s transport system is committed to providing the highest level of services for pilgrims since their arrival, during their stay to undertake Hajj rites, and until their departure for home.

Also read

Preparations include providing 7,700 flights at six Saudi airports and readying more than 27,000 buses in the kingdom to facilitate pilgrims’ transportation during the holy journey, Al Jasser said, according to the Saudi news agency SPA reported.

This year’s Hajj rites in and around Mecca are expected to begin on June 14, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

More than 2 million Muslims from across the globe are projected to attend upcoming Hajj.

Saudi agencies engaged in preparing for Hajj works anticipate record numbers of pilgrims after around 30 million Muslims from inside and outside the kingdom undertook Umrah or minor pilgrimage in the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site, in Mecca during the past Islamic sacred month of Ramadan that ended on April 9.

Some 1.8 million Muslims from across the globe last year performed Hajj, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels. Hajj is one of Islam’s five obligatory duties. Muslims, who can physically and financially afford Hajj, have to perform it at least once in a lifetime.