EghtesadOnbline: Hajj flights from Iran to Saudi Arabia concluded last week on Aug. 6.
Starting on July 8, a total of 88,561 hajj pilgrims have been transported to Saudi Arabia via 360 flights in the course of 30 days, announced the CEO of Iran's flag carrier airline Iran Air.
Touraj Dehqani Zanganeh added that the cities of Jeddah and Medina had a 43% (153 flights) and 57% (207 flights) share of hajj flights from Iran respectively, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's news service reported.
“Notably, the number of pilgrims and the number of flights witnessed a 98% and 97% growth respectively compared with those of last year (March 2018-19),” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
Average flight delay witnessed a noticeable year-on-year decrease of 74% to 19 minutes.
Nine aircrafts, 61 pilots, 26 co-pilots, 13 flight engineers, 80 pursers and 300 flight attendants took part in hajj flight operations.
Return flights from Saudi Arabia to Iran will commence from Aug. 16 and end on Sept. 8. During this 23-day period, 361 flights will be operated to return Iranian hajj pilgrims home.
From the total number of return flights, 176 will be from Jeddah and the remaining 185 from Medina, according to IRIB News Agency.
A total of 1,594 tons of cargo were transported from Iran to Saudi Arabia along with passengers.
Since Iran Air solely focused on hajj flights during the period, the flag carrier’s European passengers were handled by the airlines of Mahan, Qeshm Air, Aseman Airlines and AtlasGlobal.
Unlike previous years, Iran Air operated 100% of hajj flights to Saudi Arabia this year with its own fleet of airplanes.
As per a decade-old agreement between Tehran and Riyadh, Iranian and Saudi airlines each operated half of the hajj flights every year. However, Saudi Arabia announced this hajj season that it won't operate Iranians’ hajj flights and Iran Air is obliged to fly its own aircraft and not those it has on lease or rented to Jeddah and Medina.
Imam Khomeini Int’l Airport's newly-inaugurated Salaam Terminal hosted hajj pilgrim flights in Tehran.
Salaam Terminal was officially inaugurated on June in the presence of President Hassan Rouhani. The new terminal, with a capacity of transporting five million passengers per year, has increased IKIA's capacity by 80%.
Other Iranian airports conducting hajj flights this year included those in the cities of Urmia, Isfahan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, Birjand, Tabriz, Rasht, Zahedan, Zanjan, Sari, Shiraz, Kerman, Kermanshah, Gorgan, Mashhad, Hamedan and Yazd.