Muslim pilgrims
© AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed
Saudi Arabia's national carrier has allocated seven of its modern aircraft to transfer Qatari pilgrims to perform Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage, local media reported, citing the airline's representatives.

On Thursday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud reopened borders with Qatar and invited Qatari pilgrims to Hajj at his expense in spite of the diplomatic rift between several Arab states and Qatar. On Sunday, Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General Saleh Jasser said that the company had not yet taken Qatari pilgrims from Doha for Hajj due to the lack of authorization for landing in Doha airport from Qatari authorities.

The Okaz newspaper specified that Qatari authorities had notified Saudi Arabian Airlines that Doha would consider granting a permit for the Saudi aircraft at the beginning of the week, as the pilgrims' departure from Qatar to Saudi Arabia is set for August 22-25, whereas their return is planned for September 5.

According to the newspaper, the Saudi airline prepared seven Boeing 777-300 passenger planes with seating capacity for 300 people, although usually up to 1,600 Qatari pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and each Muslim is required to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca's holy places at least once in their lifetime.