Tajikistan’s privately owned air carrier Somon Air is expected to operate 23 flights to carry Tajik Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, says the Somon Air press center.  

The first flight will be operated on June 20. 

Saudi Arabia has reportedly allotted a quota of 3,562 pilgrims to Tajikistan who will be able to perform the annual Hajj ritual this year.  

The cost of the Hajj for Tajik Muslims had been raised from 3,750 U.S. dollars to 5,350 U.S. dollars.  This year, Hajj pilgrims will pay 61,000 somonis.  It is 26,000 somonis more than in 2019, when the Hajj cost was 35,000 somonis (equivalent to 3,750 U.S. dollars at that year's exchange rate).

The cost increase has reportedly resulted from an increase in prices for a number of services offered in Saudi Arabia.  In 2019, a hajj pilgrim paid US$236 for services in Mina and Arafat, while this year, the host has increased the cost to US$1,424.  

Only citizens aged 40 to 65 are able to perform the Hajj this year. 

Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced in a statement on April 10 that the Kingdom would host a million Hajj pilgrims this year while allowing people residing abroad to participate in the ritual as well, a sharp uptick after pandemic restrictions.  Usually, about 2.5 million people took part in this world's largest religious gathering.  

The pilgrimage, which will take place in July, will be limited to vaccinated Muslims under age 65, the statement said.

Those coming from outside Saudi Arabia, who must apply for hajj visas, will this year also be required to submit a negative Covid-19 PCR result from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Each year, Saudi Arabia welcomes millions of Muslims from abroad traveling on Umrah and Hajj.  Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is a pilgrimage to Mecca which adult Muslims must make at least one in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially able. The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God.  The pilgrimage occurs from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar.  Because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, the Gregorian date of the Hajj changes from year to year.