Saudia (SV, Jeddah) has announced plans to deploy 14 aircraft on Hajj charters to operate 268 international flights and 32 domestic flights in the first post-COVID pilgrimage season.

The Hajj pilgrimage will take place between July 7-12, 2022. The pilgrimage was severely curtailed in 2020 and 2021 as Saudi Arabia did not let Muslim pilgrims from other countries attend. In 2019, nearly 2.5 million pilgrims attended the Hajj, with 1.85 million arriving at Madinah or Jeddah by air.

Saudia did not provide the breakdown of the 14-strong fleet it has dedicated to its Hajj charters. It did not respond to ch-aviation's request for clarification. However, analysis of Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows it recently wet-leased five aircraft:

Saudia maintains a separate corporate division to organise the Hajj charters as they mark the peak of demand for travel to and from the country. However, on top of the time-limited Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims also travel to Saudi Arabia year-round to perform the Umrah pilgrimage, which also creates a substantial demand for operations to and from Madinah and Jeddah.

As the Hajj resumes after the pandemic, other airlines from Muslim-majority countries have also temporarily increased their fleets to cater to that traffic. Royal Air Maroc (AT, Casablanca Int'l) is wet-leasing two A330-300s from Wamos Air (EB, Madrid Barajas), while Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has wet-leased both A330-900s from its subsidiary Citilink (QG, Surabaya).