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July 13, 2018

Haj flights operation to begin from Peshawar tomorrow


July 13, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Haj flights operation would start tomorrow (Saturday) as private airline Airblue would carry pilgrims to Saudi Arabia from the Bacha Khan International Airport.

The Airblue flight would take off at 11am, marking the beginning of the Haj flights operation that would continue till August 15. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has received the schedule for Haj flights operation. Three flights would take off from the Bacha Khan International Airport on the first day of Haj flights operation starting from July 14. The operation would be on a daily basis.

A high-level meeting relating to arrangements for the Haj flights operation was held at the Bacha Khan International Airport with the airport manager Samar Rafique in the chair. Officials of the Directorate of Haj, district administration, private airlines, security agencies and Airport Security Force attended the meeting.

The meeting discussed the security plan, provision of facilities and finalised other arrangements for Haj flights operation to facilitate the pilgrims. A total of 76 flights would carry pilgrims from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Saudi Arabia during the operation, a CAA official said.

The airport manager said the CAA had finalized all arrangements for smoothly conducting the Haj operation, adding that the recently installed passenger boarding bridges and other facilities would be used to facilitate the passengers.

He said that the CAA had formed various teams, appointed Haj officers and representatives of all the concerned agencies would also be present at the airport to solve the problems or any other issue on the spot.

Director Haj Shakeel Ahmad Sethi said that over 30,000 people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would perform Haj. He added that 18,000 would perform Haj under government scheme and 12,000 under private schemes.

The official said the intending pilgrims would first go to Haji Camp in Phase-7 Hayatabad, adding the Directorate of Haj had arranged transport facility to shift the pilgrims from the camp to the airport.

He said that 40 cops have been deployed for the security at the Haji Camp and to escort the vehicles transporting the pilgrims from the camp to the airport. Shakeel Ahmad Sethi added that a deputy superintendent of police would command the cops and look after the security arrangements of the intending pilgrims.

Besides, the directorate has deployed 50 of its scouts to perform duty at the Haji Camp. He said all the relevant banks and airlines have established booths at the Haji Camp to facilitate the pilgrims.

The official said that health teams were also deployed at Haji Camp and they were administering anti-polio and meningitis vaccines to the pilgrims. The flight operation of the Shaheen Air could not resume at the Bacha Khan International Airport.

The CAA has suspended the flights operation of the airline on the directives of Federal Board of Revenue over the failure of the management of Shaheen Air International to pay the federal excise duty amounting to over Rs521 million.

A CAA official confirmed that the flights operation of the airline stood suspended. "We have not received the documents about the Haj flights operation of Shaheen Airline so far," he added.

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