AEROFLOT starts regular flights to Saudi Arabia

On November 30, 2006, the AEROFLOT – RUSSIAN AIRLINES started its regular flights Moscow – Mineralniye Vody – Jeddah. The opening ceremony of this event was attended by RABC Director, Tatyana Gvilava.

It is to no small extent owing to the assistance and support from the Spiritual Administration of Russia’s Muslims Organization that these flights – unprecedented in the country’s experience – have now become common practice.

It was only 5 years ago that Muslims residing in Russia were first given a realistic opportunity to make a hajj. The number of those willing to has been steadily increasing over this period, but the aspiring pilgrims had to use combined and, more often than not, opportunistic ways and routes to get to Mecca and Medina from Moscow. The first 118 passengers – which accounts for 90% of the plane’s total capacity – departed from Mineralniye Vody on November 30 to pay a visit to the Islamic Holy Places. While on board, passengers are served halal food by male air-stewards – all strictly in line with the Sharia law.

Frequency and periodicity of flights have been brought in synch with the specifics of this destination, targeted at Russian citizens of Muslim creed eager to worship Islamic Holy Places in Saudi Arabia.

A TU-154 aircraft will be carrying passengers to and from Saudi Arabia once a week (Thursday) from November 30, 2006 to December 10, 2006; from December 26, 2006 to January 7, 2007; from January 22, 2007 to March 31, 2007, then four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)from December 11, 2006 to December 25, 2006; from January 8, 2007 to January 22, 2007.

By launching this new project, the AEROFLOT aims at providing safe and comfortable transportation to the Muslim Holy Places. The Moscow - Mineralniye Vody – Jeddah air route goes in line with this Air company’s long-term strategy and its expansion plans to reach the Middle East.

In 2005, the AEROFLOT charter flights accounted for as many as 13 thousand Muslim pilgrims from various regions in Russia, their number totaled 6 thousands over the first quarter of 2006. In the same year, the Ministry for Hajj in Saudi Arabia increased the proportion of Russia’s citizens allowed to pay tribute to the Islamic Holy Places, a measure that will boost air transportation to keep pace with the ongoing evolution of bilateral cultural and economic ties between the two countries.

To plan a trip, obtain any other info, or reserve tickets, contact:

8-800-333-55-55 – the round-the-clock free line at AEROFLOT Center for Information and Reservation.

Call Center in Moscow: (495) 223-5555

The Moscow-based AEROFLOT-Russia Airlines is located at Sheremetyevo Airport. Set up in 1923, and currently accounting for 39% of all international and 11% of domestic air transportation services provided by the country’s aviation ‘market’, the company has ever since been the largest air transporter.

AEROFLOT is a member of the global SKY TEAM, recognized as the ‘best air alliance’ by GLOBAL TRAVELLER MAGAZINE readers. The Company’s total transportation volume amounted to 6.8 million passengers, delivered to as many as 86 cities in 47 countries. Its net profit totaled 6.032 billion roubles in 2005. With a fleet numbering 88 airplanes, the company’s workload is 302 flights per day.

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