Manchester Airport prepared as thousands expected for Hajj flights

Over 10,000 people from across the North of England are set to travel through Manchester Airport for this year’s Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

Around 4,500 of those will be flying direct between Manchester and Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, on one of 20 Hajj charter flights – the first of which departed on 1st of November, with the final return flight on 2nd December. This is around double the number on last year, with airlines and tour operators reporting increased demand for dedicated flights to Jeddah, which has its own dedicated Hajj Terminal for pilgrims going to nearby Mecca.

A further 6,000 people will travel from Manchester on scheduled services to other destinations in the Middle East region, where they will take connecting flights to reach Mecca via Jeddah.

The flights depart from Terminal One, where members of Manchester Airport’s Chaplaincy Team have set up a dedicated facility at Gate 20, where travellers can change into their religious garments, plus a quiet area for prayers. The Cheadle Muslim Association has also kindly provided a supply of extra Ihrams after passenger feedback indicated that this would be something to help improve the airport experience for many travellers

The airport has also worked to ensure that the desks assigned for the check-in of the Hajj passengers are situated to ensure the check-in operation is a smooth as possible, whilst also accommodating family members, friends and well wishers who may wish to accompanying pilgrims to the airport. The Manchester Airport Chaplaincy team will be in T1 to provide assistance to passengers and members of the public.

Moulana Faruk Ali, of the Manchester Airport Chaplaincy, said: “The airport has many years of experience dealing with the extra flights that this important time of year brings and we are very pleased to welcome the thousands of people from the North West who will be travelling to this year’s Hajj through Manchester Airport.

“We want to ensure that our customers enjoy hassle-free journeys, so we have listened to passenger feedback and worked closely with local communities to help ourselves and the other agencies that operate within the airport to have a greater cultural awareness so that we can build on the success of previous year’s operations.”

Additionally, some of the airlines operating the Hajj flights will serve Halal meals and prohibit the sale of alcohol on-board, as well as increasing hold-baggage allowances so that pilgrims can bring back holy water.

 

Published on: 08/11/2010 08:00:00