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The Grand Mosque, the holiest place in Islam, and Jeddah, a city on the Red Sea, will be connected by air by Saudi Arabia’s flag airline, an official has said.
Saudia has contracted the purchase of 100 Lilium jets, German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, to shuttle between the King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah and airstrips in Mecca hotels near the Grand Mosque and other holy places, the director of the group’s corporate communication Abdullah Al Shahrani told Saudi news port Akhbar24.
The official further stated that the eVTOL aircraft can accommodate up to six passengers.
Al Shahrani stated that the Saudi airlines are collaborating with national legal organizations to secure flying permissions for this kind of electric aircraft, anticipating a “qualitative” shift in transportation during the Umrah, or smaller pilgrimage, and the yearly Hajj pilgrimage seasons. Without revealing the exact date of service commissioning, he continued, “This aircraft will be used for the first time in the kingdom.”
Nearly 2 million pilgrims from around the world performed Hajj, an obligatory Islamic duty, last year in Saudi Arabia, marking the return of their numbers to pre-pandemic levels.
The numbers of Umrah pilgrims reached a record 13.5 million last year, Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al Rabiah said earlier this week.