EghtesadOnline: More than 86,500 Iranian pilgrims will be flown to Saudi Arabia as of Monday, July 8.
According to Hossein Esfandiari, a member of Iran Airports and Air Navigation Company's board of directors, the flights will take off from 19 airports across the country.
Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport will also host such passengers. Hajj flights this year will also take off from the cities of Urmia, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, Birjand, Tabriz, Rasht, Zahedan, Zanjan, Sari, Shiraz, Kerman, Kermanshah, Gorgan, Mashhad, Hamedan and Yazd, according to Financial Tribune.
The destinations will be two Saudi airports, one each in Medina and Jeddah, the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development reported.
"Both Iran-Saudi Arabia flights and the return journey will be operated by Iran's flag carrier airline Iran Air this year," Esfandiari said, adding that outbound flights are scheduled from July 8 to Aug. 5 (29 days) and return flights from Aug. 17 to Sept. 4 (19 days).
As per a decades-old agreement between Tehran and Riyadh, Iranian and Saudi airlines each operated half of the hajj flights every year. However, Saudi Arabia recently announced that it won't operate Iranians’ hajj flights and Iran Air is obliged to fly its own aircraft.
Hajj flights from and to Tehran will take off from and land at IKIA's newly-inaugurated Salaam Terminal this year.
Salaam Terminal is Iran’s first smart terminal designed by domestic experts. The terminal has an annual capacity of transporting five million passengers. It was officially inaugurated last month in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami.
The new terminal has increased IKIA's overall capacity by 80%.
On Saturday, Imam Khomeini Airport Company's CEO Ali Rostami appointed Mohammad Reza Fardi as director general of IKIA's Salaam Terminal/Gallery.
The terminal features the artworks of several well-known Iranian artists.
Imam Khomeini International Airport registered 47,446 takeoffs and landings in the last fiscal year that ended on March 20, 2019, to register a 19% decline.
More than 7.27 million passengers and 141,704 tons of cargos were transported from the airport during the period to rank third on the list of Iran’s busiest airports. The figures show a 19% and 14% decline YOY.
IKIA has the biggest share of international flights operated in Iran. It has been distinguished as the third fastest-growing major airport in the world.
A study by Routes Online shows the airport grew in terms of passenger numbers by 48.6% during the first half of 2018 to 3.93 million, helped by Ata Airlines, following the rise in frequencies to Istanbul Ataturk.
Operated by Iran Airports Company, IKIA is located 30 kilometers southwest of Iran's capital city Tehran.