Uganda Airlines will make its inaugural flight for the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest Muslim city in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Uganda Airlines describes the flight as a significant milestone for the national carrier for the first time after 40 years and an important moment for pilgrims as they embark on the holy journey.
Uganda Airlines plans to transport 500 Muslim pilgrims from different parts of Uganda aboard the Airbus A330. The first flight will depart from Entebbe and arrive in Jeddah, a key Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea, the gateway for pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina.
Hajj, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, involves the greater Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. It takes place in the last month of the Islamic year, and it is considered a religious obligation for all adult Muslims, provided they have the financial means to undertake the journey.
According to the press statement, “The official flag-off ceremony will be held at Entebbe Airport officiated by the Minister of Works and Transport, Muslim leaders, foreign diplomats, and other government officials. The return flight will be operated from Medina to Entebbe.”
The return flight is scheduled to operate from Medina to Entebbe in 2023. Uganda Airlines, the revived version of the former Uganda Airlines that operated from 1977 to 2001, resumed its operations in August 2019.
The airline currently serves a range of destinations, including Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Mogadishu, Bujumbura, and Juba, among others.