First Hajj flight to depart on Sunday from Islamabad

Hajj flight
The first Hajj flight will depart from Islamabad on Sunday night. Source: Radio Pakistan

Islamabad: The first Hajj flight will depart from Islamabad on Sunday night. According to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, more than 80 per cent of pilgrims under the government Hajj scheme have completed their training through Hajj camps.

In this regard, Hajj pilgrims will be informed about the flights through the website and mobile message.

Hajj pilgrims under the government scheme will arrive in Saudi Arabia via PIA, Air Blue, Serene Air and Saudi Air.

It is pertinent to mention that this year, the Ministry of Religious Affairs completed a six-month Hajj operation in a short span of one month.

PIA to charge private Hajj pilgrims in dollars

For the first time in history, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will charge private Hajj pilgrims in dollars. Although the decision to charge pilgrims flying on a private scheme in dollars was taken one and half years back, its implementation could not take place, as due to the COVID pandemic, performing Hajj was not allowed for two years.

However, now it has been learned that for pilgrims from the southern region and the northern region, the airfares would likely remain in the range of $810 to $1,100 and $860 to $1,150, respectively.

Because its tickets were also purchased abroad, the airline stated that fares in dollars would minimise discrepancies. The PIA, however, would charge a fixed price of Rs181,000 for return tickets for pilgrims travelling under the government scheme.

The airline is expected to take around 14,000 pilgrims on government quota and around 16,000 private pilgrims during this Hajj season. Pakistan has an 81,000 pilgrim quota, with the government typically taking 60% of the quota and allocating the rest to private operators.

Hajj flight operations from Pakistan to Madinah and Jeddah were originally scheduled to run from May 31 to July 3. The Hajj operation, however, has been postponed for a week since the government has yet to announce its Hajj strategy. From July 14 to August 13, the post-Hajj operation would take place.

Read: PIA to charge private Hajj pilgrims in dollars