Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Air Taxis Set to Shuttle Pilgrims Between Jeddah and the Grand Mosque

  • Saudia Plans Air Service for Pilgrims Using Lilium Jets

Saudi Arabia’s national carrier, Saudia, is set to launch an air service dedicated to transporting pilgrims between the Red Sea city of Jeddah and the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site. The airline has finalized the purchase of 100 Lilium jets, German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, for this purpose.

Air Taxis Set to Shuttle Pilgrims Between Jeddah and the Grand Mosque

The Lilium jets will operate between King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and airstrips in Mecca, specifically near the Grand Mosque and other significant holy places. Abdullah Al Shahrani, the director of the group’s corporate communication, confirmed these details. The deployment of eVTOL aircraft aims to enhance transportation efficiency during religious seasons, providing pilgrims with a convenient and swift connection between key locations.


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Saudia, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia, is poised to introduce electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, specifically the Lilium jets, for pilgrim transportation. These aircraft have a capacity to accommodate up to six passengers, offering an innovative and efficient mode of travel.

Abdullah Al Shahrani, the director of the group’s corporate communication, revealed that Saudia is collaborating with legal entities within the country to secure the necessary flying permits for these electric aircraft. Anticipated to be a groundbreaking advancement, this initiative is expected to revolutionize transportation during Umrah and the annual Hajj pilgrimage. While the exact commencement date remains undisclosed, this venture marks the inaugural use of such aircraft within the kingdom.

In a significant resurgence, Saudi Arabia welcomed nearly 2 million pilgrims from across the globe last year for the Hajj, signifying a return to pre-pandemic levels. The Umrah pilgrimage recorded an unprecedented 13.5 million participants, as disclosed by Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Tawfiq Al Rabiah.

The Kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, has recently introduced various facilities, facilitating the visit of Muslims for Umrah. Visa holders now have access through all land, air, and sea entry points. Moreover, Saudi citizens can invite their international friends to undertake Umrah, and women pilgrims are no longer mandated to be accompanied by male guardians. Additionally, expatriates in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are eligible to apply for tourist visas, allowing them to perform Umrah, irrespective of their profession.

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