The first Haj flight SV-727 is scheduled to leave for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia today, kicking off the month-long pre-Haj operation to airlift 28,072 intending pilgrims to the holy land for Haj-2014 from BenazirBhuttoInternationalAirport.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf will see off the intending pilgrims at the inaugural flight.
Besides Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Saudia, Shaheen Air, Air Blue, Air Arabia and other Middle East based airlines will airlift the intending pilgrims at their regular flights along with other international-bound passengers.
In this regard, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) IslamabadAirport management has finalised the pre-departure arrangements of intending pilgrims.
According to CAA Spokesman Mubarak Shah, 14 special Haj flights will be operated by PIA. About 60 percent passengers will be air-lifted through Haj tour operators and remaining passengers will depart through regular Haj scheme.
This year intending pilgrims will be sent to the holy land by regular flights as well, therefore 24-hour operation will continue at the airport.
APS Senior Officer Aftab Asif is designated as officer in-charge Haj along with a team of CAA staff to man the Haj operation in shifts on round the clock basis.
The team will extend all efforts to facilitate the intending pilgrims in proper and befitting manner.
The spokesman added that separate place for prayer and wearing of ahram is being made. Announcement and video films regarding Haj will be aired and shown to provide basic information of Haj rituals, he said.
PIA scouts and staff of Ministry of Religious Affairs will also be available to guide and facilitate the passenger heading to the sacred land.
Medical team equipped with first aid and ambulance, doctor and paramedics will also be available, he said.
In case of delay of Haj flights, CAA has directed the airlines concerned to be in touch with passengers through phone and text message in order to avoid inconvenience to the intending pilgrims while the CAA flight enquiry 114 will promptly update the information of Haj flights.