Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) is preparing to deploy its Airbus A380s and other aircraft to transport passengers to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj religious pilgrimage.

The carrier expects to fly more than 15,000 people to Jeddah and Medina on special flights for Hajj pilgrims. MAB will operate 80 long-haul flights to these destinations from Kuala Lumpur using its A380s.

MAB also plans to operate 88 feeder flights using Boeing 737-800s. These will transport 13,200 people from Malaysian domestic points to Kuala Lumpur to connect to the international flights.

The Hajj flights are scheduled to begin July 14, with the first phase ending Aug. 15. The second phase of these flights, which are primarily for homeward travel, will run from Aug. 29-Sept. 25.

The A380s are configured with 494 seats, which the carrier said “allows us to transport a high number of pilgrims without compromising on comfort.”

MAB is in the process of establishing a separate charter unit for the A380s. The carrier plans to use the aircraft primarily for religious pilgrimage charters and other lease work, and will also deploy them on international trunk routes in its network during peak times. MAB previously planned to convert the A380s to a higher seating density, but recently decided to retain the current configuration.

Adrian Schofield, adrian.schofield@informa.com