ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is prepared to initiate direct Hajj flights to the holy city of Makkah from Monday, confirmed an official statement released by the religious affairs ministry this week.
The government started transporting pilgrims to Saudi Arabia under the official Hajj scheme on May 21. However, these flights from the country have only landed in Madinah so far.
Many of the Pakistani pilgrims in the kingdom have also started moving to Makkah, as the annual Islamic pilgrimage draws closer.
“The first direct flights from Pakistan to Jeddah Airport are scheduled to begin on June 5,” the ministry said in a recent statement.
According to the state-owned Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) news agency, the flights to Makkah will be operated from 10 cities in the country, including Rahim Yar Khan and Sukkur.
The pilgrims, who will directly travel to Makkah, will have an eight-day stay in Madinah after finishing Hajj.
Pakistan will launch the post-hajj flight operation to bring back its nationals from Saudi Arabia on July 4.
The kingdom restored Pakistan’s pre-pandemic Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims in January and removed the upper age limit of 65.
The country plans to send 80,000 people to perform pilgrimage under the government scheme while the rest of them will be facilitated by private tour operators.