Hajj 2024: First flights depart from Karachi under Makkah Route Initiative

Pakistan started Hajj flight operations on May 9, marking the initiation of a month-long specialized air service to transport pilgrims to Saudi Arabia under the Makkah Route Initiative.

The inaugural flights, operated by two private airlines, Airblue and Air Sial, took off from Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport on Thursday morning, accommodating a total of 335 pilgrims.

Upon their arrival in Saudi Arabia, Pakistani pilgrims received a warm welcome from officials representing the Pakistan Consulate General and the Hajj Mission of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This gesture reflectd the deep-rooted camaraderie and mutual respect between the two nations.

Preparations for the inaugural event had been underway for weeks, culminating in the arrival of Saudi officials tasked with overseeing the immigration procedures for Hajj pilgrims in Karachi.

Key Facts – Pakistani Hajj pilgrims

  • Around 179,210 Pakistanis are estimated to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage this year.
  • A total of 65,000 Hajj pilgrims will utilize the Route to Makkah facility at Karachi and Islamabad airports this year.
  • Pakistan will continue Hajj 2024 operations from May 9 to June 9 from in eight airports across the country.
  • Pakistani pilgrims under the government’s Hajj scheme will pay a cost of about Rs1,055,000 uo to Rs1,075,000 for Hajj 2024.

Hajj flight operations from Pakistan

As part of the pre-Hajj operations, a series of flights are scheduled to transport pilgrims from various Pakistani cities to the holy city of Madinah.

A consortium of airlines, including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Saudi Airlines, Airblue, Serene Air, and Air Sial, will operate a total of 259 flights, catering to pilgrims from eight major cities across Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Karachi. This comprehensive network ensures widespread accessibility and convenience for pilgrims.

The flight schedule has been meticulously planned, with the first 15 days focusing on trips to Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah, then shifting to King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. This strategic approach ensures smooth logistical support for pilgrims throughout the pre-Hajj operation.

Pakistan launched Hajj 2024 operations from May 9 at eight airports across the country till June 9. This year’s Hajj pilgrimage is expected to take place from June 14-19.

Makkah Route Initiative

Pakistan’s involvement in the Makkah Route Initiative dates back to 2019, when it participated in a pilot program launched in Islamabad. Considering its success, the program is growing to include more cities. This year, Karachi leads the way as pilgrims from the city join the Makkah Route Initiative for the first time.

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