Guidelines issued for pilgrims as pre-Hajj flights begin

Two private airlines ferry 330 passengers to holy land; PIA flights commences tomorrow

Aftab Khan/Naeem Asghar May 09, 2024


Two private airlines started the huge pre-Hajj flights operation on Wednesday night, while national flag-carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) issued detailed guidelines for the intending pilgrims for their travel to the holy land.

PIA will start its pre-Hajj flights on Friday, May 10 (tomorrow). The one-month operation is spread over a total of 259 flights to ferry more than 68,000 pilgrims from different international airports of the country to Jeddah and Madina, Saudi Arabia.

The airlines said that the immigration of pilgrims would take place in Pakistan under the Road to Makkah project. The first flight would take off on Friday from Karachi, from where two private airlines flew in the night between Wednesday and Friday, carrying 330 pilgrims.

According to the PIA guidelines, the pilgrims must reach the airport 6 hours before the flight time. They must carry with them a smart phone with the ministry-recommended app installed in it besides the vaccination card from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

The passengers are strictly forbidden from carrying nail cutters, scissors, razors, lighters, toys with batteries, matches, power banks, cylinders, emergency lights, lanterns, stoves, inflammable substances in their belongings.

Each passenger is allowed to carry hand luggage, weighing 7 kilogrammes, and other luggage up to 40 kilogrammes. In case of excess weight, the passenger would be required to pay $5 per kilogramme additional charge, according to the guidelines.

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On the return Hajj flights, the PIA said, the passengers should arrive at the Jeddah airport 10 hours before the flight and 7 hours before the flight at Madina airport. It warned that by not arriving on time, the passenger would be responsible for the cancellation of the ticket.

The PIA said that a passenger would be required to pay SAR35 per kilogramme for any extra baggage. It added that no pilgrim would allowed to carry Zamzam water in the personal baggage, instead, as the Saudi law, a bottle of 5-liter Zamzam water would be given to each pilgrim at the airport.

Meanwhile, two private airlines took off from Karachi airport, marking the beginning of the pre-Hajj flights. According to a spokesperson for the religious affairs ministry, the pre-Hajj flights operation would continue till June 10. The return flights would commence on June 20.

According to the spokesperson, the flights for the first 15 days would ferry the pilgrims to Madina airport, while most of the flights between May 24 and June 9 would land at Jeddah airport. Besides Karachi, the flights would be operated from Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Sialkot, Quetta and Sukkur.

Separately, the religious affairs ministry held an online meeting, with the staff posted in Saudi Arabia and other cities about the Hajj arrangements. Religious Affairs Secretary Zulfiqar Haider chaired the meeting, also attended by Director-General Hajj Abdul Wahab Soomro.

During the meeting, the Hajj directors briefed the participants from Makkah. The secretary advised them to give importance to the feedback and opinions of the pilgrims. They said that pilgrims would be accommodated in Aziziya, Batha Quraish and Hayi Naseem in Makkah. Similarly, they added that all Pakistani Hajj pilgrims would be accommodated in Madinah.


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