Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) is ready to transport for this year's Hajj some 93,000 Iranian pilgrims, 28,000 more than last year. During the recent season of umrah [minor pilgrimage] SAA transported around 187,500 Iranian pilgrims on 250 flights. There will also be 10,000 more pilgrims from Pakistan, giving a total of 135,000 from that country. Islamabad is also sending 125 doctors and 125 nurses to assist in the provision of health care, in addition to 1,000 ancillary staff to facilitate services. About 1.5 million pilgrims in total are expected to arrive from overseas for the 1423 Hajj scheduled to start on February 9.
Meanwhile, the various concerned authorities are reporting their readiness for the upcoming pilgrimage. The health ministry will operate 104 health centers at the Holy Sites in Makkah, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah, staffed with over 2,400 doctors and medical technicians. This year there will be seven new health centers in Arafat, where pilgrims stay from morning until evening on the 9th day of the month of Dul Hijjah at the climax of Hajj. Arrangements are also well in hand for sanitation and hygiene services as well as transporting pilgrims and providing them with essential commodities.