Kozhikode

Haj flights to be operated from July 7

Gearing up: Haj flights from Calicut and Kochi airports will depart for Medina and the return will be from Jeddah.

Gearing up: Haj flights from Calicut and Kochi airports will depart for Medina and the return will be from Jeddah.  

After a gap of four years, Calicut International Airport will begin operating Haj flights from July 7.

However, only Saudia (Saudi Arabian airlines) will be allowed to carry Haj pilgrims from the Calicut airport. “A total of 35 flights will operate from the airport till July 20,” K. Srinivasa Rao, Airport Director, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The Haj embarkation point in the State had been shifted to the Kochi airport after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) banned the operation of wide-bodied aircraft citing unsafe characteristics of the tabletop runway at the Calicut airport in May 2015. The restoration of Haj flights from the airport comes as a major relief for the people of north Kerala as 80% of pilgrims are from Malabar. Kochi will still be an embarkation point for Haj, and flights, including Air India, will operate from there from July 14 to 17.

Mr. Rao said that Air India would not operate Haj flights from the Calicut airport since the national carrier was yet to get approval from the AAI and the DGCA to operate wide-bodied aircraft.

He said that the arrival and departure of the Haj flights of Saudia are being worked out without disturbing the existing schedules at the airport. Saudia resumed the operation of wide-bodied aircraft Boeing 777-200 and Airbus 330-300 at the Calicut airport from December last.

The Haj flights from Calicut and Kochi depart for Medina and the return will be from Jeddah. There are 22 Haj embarkation points in India.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Saudi administration had worked out agreements for operating Haj flights from India to Jeddah and Medina and back to the respective stations from July 4 to September 14.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 1:15:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/haj-flights-to-be-operated-from-july-7/article27073470.ece

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