ETW Staff – Mumbai
According to PTI report, Air India completed its Haj operations, flying about 46,700 pilgrims to Madina and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia recording the highest ever on-time performance of over 97 per cent. Out of 1.25 lakh pilgrims, Air India was entitled to carry 48,000 pilgrims in over a month-long operation, with the remaining passengers flown by Saudi Airlines as part of an agreement arrived with the host nation earlier, senior Air India officials said.
They further stated that 190 out of 195 flights carrying Haj pilgrims from 12 of 21 destinations across the country, including Guwahati, Gaya, Aurangabad, Indore, Bhopal, Srinagar and Mangalore, operated on time, while passengers from the remaining nine destinations were carried by Saudi Airlines.
This is one of the highest ever on-time performance by the national carrier during the Haj operations, they said. The operations began with the first flight from Kolkata on September 7. The return phase of the 2013 Haj operations would begin on October 19.
Air India has set up 24×7 control rooms at Jeddah and Madina, posting additional manpower from India, and is offering city check-in service to enable passengers to book their luggage from the hotels at Mecca and Madina itself. Each pilgrim returning from the holy cities are allowed to carry 10 kgs of ‘zamzam’ (holy) water back home, apart from their baggage.