Riyadh: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has announced the successful conclusion of its operations of the 1444 AH Hajj season, with the Kingdom’s airports serving over 1.5 million pilgrims, and transporting around 3.2 million round-trip passengers through 102 airlines.

The GACA added that the number of passengers during this year's Hajj season witnessed a significant increase of over 86% compared to 2022, which reflects significant growth in the numbers of pilgrims using Saudi international airports.

President of the GACA, Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Duailej, emphasized that the success of the operational plan and its remarkable achievements and record-breaking figure the Authority has achieved are a direct result of the wise directives of the leadership to provide the best services to Hajj pilgrims and facilitating the related procedures.

Al-Duailej expressed his appreciation to all sectors that played a pivotal role in efficiently managing the flow of pilgrims at the airports during this year's Hajj season.

This achievement was made possible through a holistic framework of services and cutting-edge technologies that were strategically deployed to streamline the pilgrims' journey, he noted.

Flights' statistics during Hajj season showered Indonesia as the top country for incoming and outgoing pilgrims. India ranks second, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria, according to GACA’s figures.

Statistics also highlighted the success of the "Bag-Free Hajj" initiative, showing its triumph in improving services for departing pilgrims via airports. This year, the initiative benefited over 680,000 pilgrims, encompassing 2,200 flights and handling more than 1.148 million bags.

The GACA has allocated six international airports to receive pilgrims, namely Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport, Dammam's King Fahd International Airport, Madinah's Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport, along with Yanbu's Prince Abdulmohsin bin Abdulaziz International Airport and Taif International Airport. In collaboration with relevant government entities, the aviation system aimed for utmost operational efficiency during the Hajj season.

This achievement is a result of initiatives and programs launched by the GACA, aiming to enhance the local, regional, and global aviation industry in alignment with international standards.

This endeavour is guided by the national strategy for the aviation sector, part of Saudi Vision 2030, which envisions the Kingdom leading the Middle East aviation sector, targeting 330 million passengers, increasing air cargo capacity to 4.5 million tons, and expanding air connectivity to 250 destinations to/from Kingdom airports by 2030.