Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hajj flight closed

Hajj flight closed

The pre-hajj flight was closed Monday as all the pilgrims with visa have already left the country for Jeddha to perform the Holy Hajj, reports BSS. "I would like to announce with relief that we have been able to send all intending pilgrims with visa to Jeddha and we closed our pre-hajj flight operation today after carrying more pilgrims than our target," Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Kahn Menon told journalists at a press briefing at his ministry here. The minister said a total of 1,27,103 pilgrims left for Jeddha till today. "Of them, Biman Bangladesh Airlines carried 64,873 pilgrims and Saudia Airlines carried 62,230," the minister said. The national flag carrier is supposed to carry 63,125 pilgrims this year, but Biman carried more than its target as the Saudia Airlines fail to fulfill its target of carrying 63,125 intending hajjis, he said. A total of 397 registered intending pilgrims are not able to go to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj as they failed to obtain visas or air tickets, the minister said. The national flag carrier closed this year's pre-hajj flights by operating its last flight at 3 am today. "The Saudi Civil Aviation Authority permitted Biman to operate extra eight hajj flights to carry all the pilgrims. We have used six out of those eight, as we were able to carry all of the waiting hajjis," the minister said. Terming it's a relief for the government, Menon said he has already apprised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of successful hajj flight operation and the Premier thanked all staff of the national flag carrier for their efforts. The minister blamed a faction of hajj agencies for creating the debacle as they (agencies) were too greedy to make some extra profit. "Some agencies rented houses in Saudi Arabia in late to save some money and it created the pressure on the airlines," he said. This year's Biman cancelled 24 flights and Saudi Arabia four due to scarcity of pilgrims. The minister said the government would take stern action against those agencies who were involved in this glitch centering hajj flight operations. "The Religious Affairs Ministry will cancel licenses of those liable hajj agencies and fine to those travel agencies who booked tickets but didn't buy later," the minister warned. Biman Bangladesh airlines operated a total of 211 pre-hajj flights, including 178 dedicated and 33 scheduled from Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet. The Post-Hajj flight will start from September 6 and to be continued till October 5, official sources said.

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