Pilgrims waiting in line in the departure hall at Beirut airport. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Middle East Airlines has allocated around 70 outgoing flights for the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia this month, a source with the airline told The Daily Star Friday. MEA usually operates 14 flights to Jeddah weekly. However, with the increased number of people departing from Beirut to Jeddah to perform hajj in Mecca, MEA has allocated 70 total flights for the hajj period, extending some 15 days starting mid-August. According to the source, around 12,500 pilgrims are expected to depart Beirut's airport. MEA recently announced an expansion to its bilateral codeshare agreement with Saudi airline Saudia, which stipulates that both carriers will add their respective codes on flights between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon effective Aug. 15, a statement released by MEA Monday said. Departure halls at Beirut's airport were packed with pilgrims Thursday.A total of 12,500 pilgrims, of whom 7,000 are Lebanese, 1,500 are Palestinian and 4,000 Syrian, will depart through the airport, according to an airport source.
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