Air India flies 46,700 Haj pilgrims

Air India flies 46,700 Haj pilgrims

 Air India today 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 in the over a month-long operations, 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 said 190 of the 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 Saudia.

This is one of the highest ever on-time performance by the national carrier during the Haj operations, they said, adding 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 24x7 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 could carry ten kg of 'zamzam' (holy) water back home, apart from their baggage.

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