Emirates increases umrah flights during Ramadan
Emirates, which has been a key player in the middle east air travel scene has complimented its already busy schedule with seventy three extra services to Jeddah and Madinah airports during the busy Ramadan Umrah season. Umrah, also known as short Hajj is performed round the year, but the official season ends after Ramadan in order for authorities to be able to prepare for Hajj. Ramadan is hence the busiest season after Hajj. The extra services will be operational from 20th July to 1st September 2012. Fifty nine out of the total 73 additional flights will operate to and from King Abdul Aziz International airport, Jeddah throughout Ramadan, with Medinah Al Munawarrah receiving 14 extra services during the same time period.
Ahmed Khoory, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Gulf, Middle East and Iran explained the development as “We expect travel to the Kingdom to increase significantly during the holy month of Ramadan in line with the annual movement patterns of pilgrims. To effectively cater to this increased demand we have added extra services giving our passengers more flight options and easing the flow of traffic.There is a high demand for travel to the Kingdom from across our network given our convenient and frequent flight options. With a growing fleet of 175 aircraft we are fortunate to have the flexibility required to adjust our schedules and accommodate this increased traffic flow,’ added Khoory.
The newly added flights will be plied by Boeing 777’s and A330s, with Economy, Business and First class options. Emirates currently flies to four destinations in Saudi Arabia including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medinah Al Munawarah. Umrah flights, however operate only to Jeddah and Madinah. Emirates has already bagged permission from the Saudi Authorities to operate these flights for Umrah passengers. This step will not only as mentioned improve pilgrims movement, but will also increase Emirates share in the emerging Hajj and Umrah travel market.