Calicut airport not a Haj embarkation point

Amid the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) delaying its decision on the resumption of wide-bodied aircraft, the Ministry of Minister for Minority Affairs has excluded the Calicut International Airport from the list of embarkation points for Haj 2022.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, announced the list of airports, ignoring the plea of the State government. According to the decision, the Cochin International Airport will cover Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and Andaman and Nicobar. The others are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Guwahati, and Srinagar. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had banned the operation of wide-bodied aircraft after the Boeing 737-800 Air India Express flight crashed on August 7, 2020, killing 21 persons and injuring 100 passengers.

Incidentally, the operation of wide-bodied aircraft was banned at the Calicut airport from May 2015 after the Court of Inquiry report on the Air India Express Boeing 737 crash in Mangaluru in May 2010.

Last year, the Airport Advisory Committee of the Calicut International Airport had urged the Centre to restore the Haj embarkation point at the airport so that it would hugely benefit pilgrims from north Kerala.

It was in July 2019 that the operation of Haj flights was resumed by Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) after a gap of four years.

For Haj 2022, the embarkation points have been reduced from 21 to 10. Also, the entire process which began on Monday (November 1) will be online. The last date of applying for Haj 2022 is January 31, 2022. The people can apply for Haj online and also through “Haj Mobile App” equipped with modern facilities, the Ministry said.

The applicants should have taken two doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines at least one month before the departure. Besides, the Haj application is provisional, subject to final guidelines of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The advance amount is ₹81,000 for provisionally selected pilgrims.

Quoting Mr. Naqvi, a Ministry of Minority Affairs press release said that this time, Indian Haj pilgrims would promote "Vocal for Local'', going to Haj with indigenous products. Earlier, Haj pilgrims used to buy bed sheets, pillows, towels, umbrellas, and other items in Saudi Arabia in foreign currency.

This time, it said most of these indigenous goods would be bought in India in Indian currency. While these goods would be available in India at about 50% lower prices in comparison with Saudi Arabia, it would also encourage “Swadeshi” and "Vocal for Local". All these items would be given to Haj pilgrims at their respective embarkation points in India.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 7:53:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/calicut-airport-not-a-haj-embarkation-point/article37291849.ece

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