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CAIRO, August 24, 2018 (MENA) - Chairman of EgyptAir Holding Company Ahmed Adel said Friday that the company will start return flights for Egyptian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

In a statement, Adel explained that EgyptAir's Jeddah mission had held a preparatory meeting to set the stage for the start of return flights.

There is full coordination between various sectors of the mission in this regard, he added.

He stressed the importance of time and work management to avoid any delay in the flight departures and maintain the regularity of operation of departing flights in accordance with the operating schedule.

MECCA, Aug 20, 2018 (MENA) – The Egyptian Health Ministry announced Monday the death of an Egyptian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia, taking the total number to 20.

In exclusive statements to MENA, head of the official medical mission Dr. Mohamed Shawky said that the hajj rituals are going smoothly at Mount Arafat.

He noted that four committees are inspecting all hospitals located in Arafat to get acquainted with the conditions of Egyptian pilgrims who were admitted to hospitals after feeling sick.

He added that 33 Egyptian pilgrims who were admitted to Saudi hospitals were transported by ambulances to Arafat to continue their rituals.

Standing on Arafat represents the most important part of the Hajj.

The Hajj is one the five major pillars, or tenets, of Islam that followers of the religion must abide by.

MECCA, Aug 20, 2018 (MENA) - Head of tourism Hajj mission Majdi Shalabi said that 36 inspectors from tourism ministry are checking all camps of tourism hajj to follow up the implementation of programs which were agreed on between tourism Hajj companies and pilgrims, as well as surveying pilgrims over the level of service provided to them.

In press statements, Shalabi said the mission has intensified the presence of inspectors in the pilgrims economic camps, which were developed during the current Hajj season, as it is considered to be a good step by tourism Hajj companies to develop Hajj system in general.

He pointed out that there is continued contact throughout the day with the Minister of Tourism Rania el Mashat to learn about all procedures concerning the Hajj mission and the commitment of tourism companies to implement the regulations of Hajj in general.

CAIRO, Aug 20, 2018 (MENA) - Executive Director of the National Foundation to Facilitate Hajj and Umrah Ayman Abdel Mawgoud said that all Egyptian pilgrims are safe and sound and unharmed by the adverse weather conditions that hit the holy sites in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

In statements to MENA, Abdel Mawgoud, who is also the head of the NGO Hajj mission, said that the NGO pilgrims were safe and sound as they abide by the moderators' instructions to stay in their tents.

The pilgrims gathered on Monday at Mount Arafat to mark the pinnacle of the annual Hajj.

ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia, August 20, 2018 (MENA) - More than two million white-clad pilgrims coming from all corners of the world flocked on Monday to Mount Arafat where Prophet Mohammed delivered his final sermon, asking for God's forgiveness and mercy.

Chanting "Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik", pilgrims proceeded to Arafat Mount on foot or by bus or train.

Saudi authorities have prepared an integrated traffic plan to help ease the pilgrims’ path from the tent city of Mina to Mount Arafat.

The pilgrims stand on Jabal-ur-Rehmah (Mountain of Mercy) on the plain of Arafat.

Standing at Arafat is the fundamental requirement of Hajj and pilgrims come here on the 9th Dhul Hijjah (second day of Hajj).

The pilgrims spend the day till sunset on Arafat Mount.

From Arafat Mount, pilgrims will move to Muzdalifah, where they will collect pebbles to be tossed at three stones representing Satan.

Following the stoning, pilgrims will sacrifice animals on the first day of Eidul Adha, joining millions of other Muslims around the world.

The Hajj is one the five major pillars, or tenets, of Islam that followers of the religion must abide by.

By the Gazette Editorial Board

OPERATING a massive airlift of tens of thousands of pilgrims in the span of a few weeks is indeed a major operational success for our national carrier EgyptAir as well as for all government ministries and authorities concerned, including in the foremost the Civil Aviation Ministry, the Ministry of the Interior, the Health Ministry and the Finance Ministry.  Together and through meticulous preparations, the national carrier and the government departments concerned succeeded this year in forwarding a model for joint action in the service of citizens. By all standards, ensuring the exactitude of abidance by the schedules and timetables for such a massive airlift represents a commendable inter-departmental model of co-operation and well-coordinated action in the planning implementation and delivery of a public service. Cairo International Airport and other air, sea and land facilities handle thousands of embarking and disembarking passengers every day and round the clock but undertaking such a major air transport task on time points to the spirit of energetic, dedicated engagement in the implementation of national projects and tasks.

Though EgyptAir organises massive airlifts during the pilgrimage season every year, this year’s operation is noticeably distinguished by full observance of the operational plan and outstanding performance by all staff in line with Civil Aviation Minister Yunus al-Masri’s directives which called, inter alia, for extending all facilities and care to pilgrims especially including old people, patients and humanitarian cases.  Foremost among the highlights of the operational plan, as so noted by the Chairman of the EgyptAir Holding Company, pilot Ahmed Adel, were the carrying of the largest number of pilgrims in the shortest time possible, registering the highest rate of abidance by takeoff and landing schedules and avoiding such travel snags as left or lost baggage.

Such an achievement unveils and also reasserts an extremely-important potential for the expansion of air transport as well as for the revival and growth of the tourism industry.  The remarkable success in producing an almost problem-free air transport service to such a large number of people with full observance of flight schedules establishes the country’s capability to fulfill all the requirements of the increase in the flow of tourists.  As a matter of fact, ensuring the exactitude of flight schedules however large their number is means that all prior arrangements, especially including airport facilities, passport checks, customs and health measures –tasks overseen by the ministries of civil aviation, the interior, finance and health, respectively – have also been successfully made and in record time. It is indeed a case of successful inter-departmental coordination.

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