No hajj flight cancellation feared this year: Biman

Biman Bangladesh Airlines is not fearing to cancel any hajj flight this year as they have already sold 99 percent tickets of its 365 hajj flights, to be started from July 4. “This year, we have taken some extra measures to operate the hajj flights …. so we are not fearing to cancel hajj flights as like previous years”, Biman’s marketing and sales director Mahbub Jahan Khan said at a press briefing at Biman headquarters in the capital, reports BSS.

Officials observes that they will not be forced to cancel flights due to scarcity of passengers as this year Biman will not refund ticket money, if any pilgrim fails to travel on the scheduled flight. Besides, the airline will charge 200 US dollars per ticket in case of changing travel date. Moreover, the cost per ticket will rise to 300 US dollars, if any pilgrim changes the travel date less than 24 hours of his/her scheduled flight.

Some 1,27,198 pilgrims from Bangladesh are set to perform hajj this year. Biman will carry 63,599 passengers, which is about half of the number of total hajj pilgrims. The remaining pilgrims will be flown by Saudi Airlines, the national carrier of Saudi Arabia. “We have already sold 99 percent of tickets, so we are confident that we will be able to operate hajj flight operations smoothly”, Mahbub said. Biman Bangladesh Airlines has already issued nearly 62,500 tickets out of 63,599 pilgrims and expected to issue ticket for rest of around 1000 pilgrims within three days, sources said.

Biman’s Managing Director and CEO Farhat Hassan Jamil and Director Administration Ziauddin Ahmed also spoke, among others. The first hajj flight BG-3001 will leave Hazrat Shahjajal International Airport with 419 pilgrims on board at 7.15am, Jamil said. State minister for civil aviation and tourism M Mahbub Ali and state minister for religious affairs advocate Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah will be present at the airport to see off the pilgrims, he added.

This year for the first time, the immigration formalities of nearly half of Bangladeshi pilgrims will be completed in Dhaka. Among the 365 flights, Biman will operate 189 pre-hajj flights, 157 dedicated and 32 scheduled flights from July 4 till August 5 and 176 post-hajj flights, 147 dedicated and 29 scheduled flights from August 17 to September 15 by its own four Boeing 777-300ER.

The airline will operate 18 flights to Madina from Dhaka and 15 flights from Dhaka to Madina for the first time this year. Apart from Dhaka, 19 hajj flights will be operated from Chattogram while three from Sylhet.