Riyadh/Mumbai: The first batch of Hajj pilgrims from India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Africa arrived in Jeddah and Madinah on Sunday.
The first flight from Indian capital New Delhi Air India AI - 5101 carrying 336 Haj pilgrims landed at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah at around 07:25 in the morning Sunday.
After few hours second flight from New Delhi AIr India AI - 5103 carrying 340 Hajis reached Madinah. Later in the afternoon, third Air India flight AI - 5015 from New Delhi with 339 Hajis onboard reached the Prophet's city.
Haj flights from three other places in India also reached Jeddah and Madinah on the same day.
The group from Bangladesh comprised 418 pilgrims out of 101,758 to perform Hajj this year, while the batch from Kuala Lumpur consisted of 450 pilgrims. A total of 22,320 pilgrims from Malaysia to perform Hajj this year.
The first flight carrying 150 Pakistani pilgrims arrived at Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah. Shaheen Air flight came from Karachi. Pakistan's Consul General Aftab Khokher welcomed the pilgrims.
In Jeddah, the first batch of 107 pilgrims arrived from South Africa. It is the first delegation of pilgrims from a non-Arab African country. The deputy chairman of Board of Directors of Pilgrims-Guides Foundation for non-Arab African countries received the pilgrims and wished them a comfortable and easy Hajj.
On arrival at the Hajj Terminal in Jeddah, pilgrims from Bangladesh were received by Ambassador Golam Moshi and Consul General A. K. M. Shahidul Karim.
The national carriers of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia will ferry the pilgrims from Dhaka.
“Around 52,000 will be flown in by Biman Airlines, while the rest will be brought by the Saudi Arabian Airlines,” the envoy added. In response to a query, Ambassador Moshi said the first batch of pilgrims were presented with prayer mats and caps.
The envoy thanked the Saudi government for providing all facilities for the safety, security and comfort of the pilgrims.
According to an official from the Malaysian Haj mission in Jeddah, all arrangements for the pilgrims are well in place.
“We have taken certain initiatives like sending support staff to look after the security, safety and welfare of our country's pilgrims,” he said.
A total of 64 flights are lined up to carry Malaysian pilgrims that would include 39 flights from Malaysian Airlines and 25 from Saudi Arabian Airlines taking off from seven airports across Malaysia.