Etihad Airways is to increase its flights between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia in December, providing additional flights to Jeddah and Madinah for Muslims making the annual Hajj Pilgrimage.In addition to its regular daily Jeddah service, Etihad will offer 10 extra flights to the city between 24 November and 19 December. The airline will also lay on 2 flights to Madinah between 29 November and 2 December.
Etihad will operate a combination of Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft on these additional services.
Geert Boven, executive vice president sales and service, said, “The pilgrimage is a very important experience for Muslims across the world and Etihad is honoured to offer additional flights during the Hajj season. The response for the flights is always tremendous and we’re expecting the extra services this year to prove equally popular.”
More than two million pilgrims make the journey every year to Saudi Arabia, which is the custodian of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah.
Makkah is located 73 kilometres inland from Jeddah, with Muslims regarding the al-Masjid al-Haram (The Sacred Mosque) as the holiest place on earth.
Madinah, the second holiest city of Islam, houses the shrine of the Mosque of the Prophet which contains Muhammad’s tomb. The first mosque of Islam, the Quba Mosque, is also located in Medinah.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, launched services to Jeddah in May 2006. The airline also offers a non-stop, eight-flights-per-week service to the Saudi capital Riyadh, and 13 flights-per-week to Dammam.