Libyan Airlines says that it flew 80,000 Umrah pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year, which is a new record.
The Umrah pilgrimage season ran from the beginning of January to the end of August, during which time there were flights from Tripoli and Benghazi to Jeddah and Medina.
The company attributed the success to having more aircraft, with five new planes joining the fleet in the past nine months , including three Airbus A320s and two wide-bodied Airbus A330s.
But according to Libya Herald, another reason has been the increasing number of Libyans wanting to perform Umrah. The Saudi Ambassador, Mohammed Al-Ali, said 150,000 Libyans were granted visas to perform Umrah during the eight-month pilgrimage season. “It is an enormous figure,” he told Libya Herald. “There have been flights to Jeddah every day. Some days there were six a day."
Libyan Airlines says it plans to fly pilgrims to Jeddah and Medina from several other Libyan towns next year, and is meanwhile gearing up for the Haj pilgrimage season which starts mid-September.
Last year it carried more than a one and a quarter million passengers. This year, it says it expects the figure to be nearly two million.
(Source: Libya Herald)