MADINAH — Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser announced that the pilgrims will have the unique experience of benefiting from the service of flying taxis and drones during this year’s Hajj season.

“These represent highly advanced modes of transportation including taxi applications. There is a race between many specialized companies in the transport sector to provide the best means of transport over the coming years,” he said.

Al-Jasser said this in a press briefing after receiving the first batch of foreign pilgrims at Prince Muhammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah on Thursday morning. “It is necessary to learn about these technologies and the appropriate environment for operating such modes of transport in such seasons, and we will be at the forefront to benefit from these services,” he said adding that the Hajj season will have the largest chunk of such modes of transport.

It is noteworthy that Al-Jasser said last year that flying taxis would be tested during the Hajj season in the coming years. Earlier, Saudi Arabian Airlines also unveiled plans to operate flying taxis to ferry Hajj pilgrims between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and hotels in Makkah. Saudia intends to buy around 100 aircraft to operate the service.

During last January, Abdullah Al-Shahrani, director of corporate communications and spokesman of the Saudia Group, said that the Saudi national carrier is making preparations to use air taxis as a new mode of transportation during the Hajj season. He said that the Saudia Group has contracted the purchase of 100 Lilium jets, German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, to shuttle between the Jeddah airport and airstrips in Makkah hotels near the Grand Mosque and other holy places.

“The electric plane Lilium is one of the first aircraft that operates entirely on electric power. After completing the necessary arrangements, these planes will fly with the guests of God during Hajj and Umrah seasons from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to the airstrips in hotels near the Grand Mosque in Makkah,” he said. Air taxi is a small commercial aircraft that makes short flights on demand.

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