52,483 pilgrims leave for Jeddha to perform hajj: Biman

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DHAKA, Aug 10, 2017 (BSS) – A total of 52,483 hajj pilgrims so far have left the country for Jeddha by Biman Bangladesh and Saudia Airlines to perform hajj till today.

Of the 52,483 pilgrims, Biman Bangladesh Airlines carried 24,383 and Saudia Airlines 28,100 till this morning, Biman’s Spokesperson General Manager Public Relations Shakil Meraj told BSS.

However, Biman was forced to cancel two more dedicated hajj flights out of its today’s scheduled five dedicated hajj flights due to scarcity of passengers, he said.

Biman has cancelled 21 dedicated hajj flights so far due to lack of passengers.

At a press conference yesterday, Biman Bangladesh Airlines termed the current situation regarding hajj flight operation ‘tough and challenging, but not unmanageable’ amid frequent cancellation of dedicated hajj flights in the last two weeks.

“The situation is quite tough, but not uncontrollable … it’s challenging. Still, I am hopeful of carrying all the intending pilgrims. We will do whatever need to do to overcome the situation,” Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Mosaddique Ahmed told journalists at the conference.

Mosaddique Ahmed then informed journalists that the national flag carrier has already lost opportunity to earn Taka 40 crore as revenue due to cancellation of flight till yesterday.

The Biman officials said the airline would request Saudi authority to allocate more slots so that it could carry the left behind pilgrims.

This year, the number of intending pilgrims is 127,198.

Of them, Biman is scheduled to carry 63,600 pilgrims while rest 63,600 by Saudi Airlines which also cancelled four flights due to shortage of passengers.

The first hajj flight with 419 pilgrims left the country for Jeddha on July 24.

Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon and Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman inaugurated the first hajj flight at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

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