Islamabad: 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.
Flights from Pakistan to Madinah and Jeddah for the Hajj 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.