The Institute for Hajj Research of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques concluded its third forum in Madinah today. The forum's opening session covered economic aspects of Hajj and Umrah (the major and minor pilgrimages), and was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Omer bin Zuheir Hafez of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The second session, on engineering and urban studies, was held under the chairmanship of Dr. Waleed Abdel-A'al, undersecretary of Jeddah governorate.
Meanwhile, the first batch of 400 Indian pilgrims arrived in Jeddah this morning from Bombay on board a Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) flight. SAA expects to transport 893,702 pilgrims during the current Hajj season, with 1,754 flights from 70 international destinations. This year, some 70,000 Indian pilgrims will travel from four Indian cities: New Delhi, Ahmadabad and Hyderabad as well as Bombay.