Speaking to reporters after presiding over a meeting of the Council of Airline Companies, he said the council would work on facilitating the arrival and departure of pilgrims.
“We are working in accordance with the government’s directives to ensure the pilgrims’ comfort and remove obstacles facing them,” said Mr. Al-Hazmi, who is the council chairman.
“The meeting was a good opportunity to review the implementation of previous decisions and discuss observations of various government departments and airlines,” he said.
Mr. Al-Hazmi emphasized the need to enlighten pilgrims against carrying huge baggage as it could delay their flights and disrupt the smooth operation of flights. He indicated that Saudia, would apply its new baggage rules on Haj pilgrims.
“The last Umrah season was a big success thanks to the implementation of the plan to send pilgrims in groups to the airport,” he said.
The deputy director general added: “We started preparations for this Haj season soon after the last Haj season, intensifying efforts to extend better services to the guests of God. We issue boarding passes for pilgrims even for their return journey at the start of their spiritual journey,” he said.
Saudia also appoints air stewards and stewardesses who can speak various languages spoken by pilgrims from different countries, Mr. Al-Hazmi said. “We also supply meals that suit their different tastes,” he pointed out.
He disclosed Saudia’s plan to rent 30 aircraft of varying sizes to transport Haj pilgrims from different countries. Saudia has so far received 58 state-of-the-art aircraft from a total of 90 aircraft it ordered from Airbus and Boeing including 35 A320s, 15 A321s, 12 A330s, 20 Boeing 777-300ERs and eight Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Mr. Al-Hazmi commended foreign airlines for their cooperation in extending the best possible services to the guests of God and making the Haj operation a big success.
“We have to work as one team by helping each other overcome difficulties and achieve our common objectives,” the president told about 50 airline executives and representatives of various government departments at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.
During the meeting, government officials urged airlines and foreign Haj missions to enlighten their pilgrims about safety requirements.
They also told airlines to deal with passengers quickly whenever there is a delay or cancellation of flights to avoid problems.