JEDDAH – King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, KSA, is preparing its operational plans for the coming Hajj season in August 2018.
Around 2.98 million Hajj pilgrims from all over the globe are expected to arrive and depart through the airport. Arab news reported on July 9.
“The past Umrah season was successful with more than nine million Umrah pilgrims have been coming and departing the airport, starting from the month of Muharram (September 21, 2017) until the 10th of Shawwal (June 24, 2018), via 30,000 air flights,” Essam Nour, the airport’s general director, told Asharq al-Awsat news agency.
Jeddah’s airport is the busiest one in KSA and the Kingdom’s third-largest. It’s located 19 km to the north of downtown Jeddah.
“Our Hajj 2018 plan for the airport which shall start on August 15 aims to ensure the comfort of all pilgrims as well as their safety, starting from their arrival in Jeddah until they board their return flights,” Nour said.
A Pillar of Islam
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam where pilgrims visit the holy city of Makkah. About two million Muslims participate in this annual event.
As a pillar of Islam, pilgrimage to Makkah is mandatory for every adult Muslim. It has to be carried out at least once a lifetime by Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence.
Spiritually, Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God.
Like other Islamic rituals, Hajj has specific dates that depend on the Hijri Calendar. The Hajj rituals occurs from the 8th to 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of this 12-month lunar calendar.
Since the Hijri calendar is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Gregorian date of Hajj changes from year to year.