Emirates adds extra flights for Hajj pilgrims. Picture from AP Photo/Adam Schreck.
Annually, Jeddah and Medina sees increased air traffic during the Hajj pilgrimage when thousands of people travel to the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

This year Hajj begins on 9 August, but preparations will be in full swing already for pilgrims embarking on the journey.

Emirates has announced that it will be broadening its services to Jeddah and Medina with an additional 46 flights.

Top inbound destinations to Saudia Arabia includes South Africa, Pakistan, the United States, Senegal, the UK, Nigeria, Indonesia and the Ivory Coast.

Hajj-centric onboard services 

The airline has also released it's list of special services it offers to Hajj pilgrims.
  • On the ground in Dubai, Emirates has commissioned a dedicated team to manage check-in and transfers for the seamless movement of Hajj passengers leaving from and returning to Dubai. 
  • Extra provisions will be made to accommodate Hajj traveller needs, such as performing ablutions and other cleansing rituals as well as advising passengers when they have entered Al Miqat zones to ensure readiness for Ihram (the point when pilgrims enter a state of sanctity) through dedicated passenger announcements. 
  • The airline also provides extra blankets and unperfumed hot towels for Hajj passengers. 
  • Pilgrims will also be able to tune into the Holy Quran channel during their journey. 
  • On flights from Jeddah, Hajj passengers can bring up to five litres of holy water (Zamzam) which will be placed in special areas in the cargo hold.