RAWALPINDI: Hundreds of Pakistani Umrah pilgrims, who were facing flight delays at the Jeddah airport due to unusual demand during Eid holidays, were facilitated after talks between the airport officials and the PIA representatives.

The pilgrims and other Pakistanis returning home to celebrate Eid with their families suffered as their flights from Jeddah to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore faced hours-long delays.

The PIA management held talks with the Jeddah airport officials following directives of Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique to address the problem.

Following the talks, the Jeddah airport management shifted the PIA flights to its Haj terminal from the northern terminal. The decision was made as the Haj terminal is spacious and can accommodate a large number of passengers.

Earlier on Tuesday, PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez Khan explained the situation at Jeddah airport that all airlines’ flights departing from Jeddah were facing extended delays.

“The massing of passengers was due to shifting of flights to North Terminal by the airport management. Due to crowding, the passengers were facing difficulties in check-in as there were only four boarding gates at the North Terminal that were insufficient to handle the large number of travelers,” the PIA spokesman said.

He said that PIA management had directed to provide all possible facilities to its passengers, while the PIA officials in Jeddah were constantly in contact with the Saudi authorities. Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq directed the PIA management to provide hotels to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims.

Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2022

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