Mangalore airport gearing up to take off Haj flights

30 September 2009

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is gearing up to make arrangements to operate special flights for Haj pilgrims from Mangalore airport for the first time this year.

Air India Express flights will be operated between Mangalore and Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

V.N. Chandran, director, Mangalore airport, told that the departure of flights to Jeddah had been tentatively fixed from October 17 to November 20. The arrivals would be between November 20 and January 1, 2010.

Officials of the AAI, office-bearers of the State Haj Committee and other authorities concerned had held three meetings in this regard. One more meeting would be held shortly, he said.

Chandran said that the AAI would make all arrangements for the arrival and departure of the special flights without affecting normal operations. He said that immigration clearance would be conducted at the transit camp for pilgrims here and customs and security clearances would be conducted at the airport. The director said that according to the list provided by the State Haj Committee, 700 pilgrims would depart from here.

Hameed Kandak, member, All India Haj Committee, and special training officer of the committee, told that Air India Express had agreed to operate at least six special flights to Jeddah.

Kandak said that he was going for the Haj pilgrimage for the 29th time this year. Haj celebrations would be held from November 6 to 11 at Makkah, Mina, Arafa and Muzzalifa in Saudi Arabia this year. These places were within a 100 km distance from the Jeddah airport, he said.

He said that the 700 pilgrims would be given training in the city on October 13. Another training programme would be held on October 18.

Kandak said that though the Haj committee had demanded that 14 flights be operated from Mangalore airport, the officials of Air India Express had said that it might not be possible due to lack of aircraft. He said that earlier pilgrims from the State had to go to Bangalore, Mumbai or Kozhikode to take flights to Jeddah.



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