Hajj flight begins

The first hajj flight of the year carrying 417
pilgrims left Dhaka for Saudi Arabia this morning.

The Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight BG-3001 took off from Hazrat
Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) at 7:15am.

State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali and State
Minister for Religious Affairs Advocate Sheikh Md Abdullah were present at
the airport to see off the pilgrims.

“We have taken all-out efforts for ensuring smooth hajj flight operations
this year,” Mahbub told reporters after inauguration of the hajj flight at
the airport.

As per directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said, Biman brought
some extra measures in ticketing system to check any harassment of pilgrims.

The state minister hoped that no hajj flight will be canceled this year
due to scarcity of passengers as Biman has already sold 99 percent of its
tickets. This year, Biman decided not to refund ticket money, if any pilgrim
fails to travel on the scheduled flight.

Besides, the airline will charge 200 US dollars per ticket in case of
changing travel date.

Moreover, the cost per ticket will rise to 300 US dollars, if any pilgrim
changes the travel date less than 24 hours of his/her scheduled flight.

Some 1,27,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh are set to perform hajj this year.
Biman will carry 63,599 passengers, which is about half of the number of
total hajj pilgrims.

The remaining pilgrims will be flown by Saudi Airlines, the national
carrier of Saudi Arabia.

This year for the first time, the immigration formalities of more than
half of Bangladeshi pilgrims are being completed in Dhaka.

Biman will operate 189 pre-hajj flights, 157 dedicated and 32 scheduled
flights from today till August 5 and 176 post-hajj flights, 147 dedicated and
29 scheduled flights from August 17 to September 15 by its own four Boeing
777-300 ER.

The airline will operate 18 flights to Madina from Dhaka and 15 flights
from Dhaka to Madina for the first time this year.

Apart from Dhaka, 19 hajj flights will be operated from Chattogram while
three from Sylhet.