RAWALPINDI: Pakis­tan International Airlines (PIA) has announced that Haj flights would be operated from eight cities from May 9 to June 10.

A spokesman for PIA said on Saturday that PIA would operate direct flights this year to Jeddah and Madina from eight cities in Pakistan — Islamabad, Karachi, Lah­ore, Peshawar, Multan, Qu­­­­et­­ta, Sialkot, and Sukkur.

According to the initial plan, the spokesman said that PIA would transport around 34,000 Haj pilg­ri­­ms to the Holy Hijaz thro­ugh 170 flights from May 9 to June 10.

He also noted that 19,000 government Haj scheme pilgrims and 15,000 private pilgrims would travel through PIA for Haj this year.

Additionally, the spok­e­sman said that the Road to Makkah plan would be av­­ailable at Islamabad and Karachi airports this year.

Through the Road to Makkah project, Haj pilgrims would undergo their Saudi immigration process at Karachi and Islamabad International Airports, saving them the hassle of long queues for immigration in Jeddah or Madina, said the spokesman.

The PIA has also issued a guidebook for Haj awareness, containing detailed instructions on the Nusuk application and other necessary guidelines.

The spokesman added that pilgrims should register their mobile numbers while booking their tickets to receive timely information about their flights.

All pilgrims are req­ue­s­ted to pray for the security and development of Pakistan while performing the Haj rituals, according to the spokesman.

Following Islamabad International Airport, Ka­rachi’s Jinnah Internatio­nal Airport is ready to commence operations for the Road to Makkah project.

A meeting to review ar­­r­angements for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage was held on Friday, chaired by Airport Manager Erfan Khan and Deputy Airport Manager Saifur Rehman.

The meeting was attended by airport stakeholders, including airlines, ground handling agencies, Border Health Services, Airport Security Force, FIA, Customs, and Anti-Narcotics Force.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2024

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