Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will offer Hajj flights from eight cities in the country within three months. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, followed by Muslims worldwide since the time Prophet Muhammad undertook his first Hijrah or journey to the city of Mecca. A pilgrimage to Mecca must be carried out at least once in a lifetime for those who have achieved adulthood and health.
Hajj is the fifth of the five pillars of Islam, which have been followed by Muslims worldwide for the last 1400 years. Hajj is one of the oldest and largest religious pilgrimages in the world. It takes place during a period defined by a Muslim lunar calendar and is observed annually at Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Islam has strict guidelines that have to be followed by all pilgrims to Mecca. Pilgrims should not marry or have sexual relations before performing Hajj. All Muslim pilgrims who undertake the Hajj must wear long-sleeved white garments called tabarra, which should be clean and free of any stains. The pilgrim’s hair must be covered with a head scarf known as a kufi. No shoes are allowed in the Sacred Mosque, and women pilgrims should wear a headscarf that thoroughly protects their hair and neck.
Islamabad International Airport is the main gateway to the capital of Pakistan, and it handles international and domestic flights connecting Islamabad with several Pakistani cities. The airport also serves as a hub for PIA. There are flights from Islamabad to Jeddah, Madina, and King AbdulAziz International Airport in Riyadh every day, except Sunday. Flights will depart from Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Karachi airports on the same days. Flights from Multan, Quetta, Peshawar, and Faisalabad will also be offered.
PIA has made all necessary arrangements to ensure safe and successful Hajj operations. The airline has already started hiring staff and purchasing equipment for the Hajj operations. PIA also plans to use local airlines for the Hajj flights and have in-flight catering services for all passengers serving local cuisine.
PIA also has plans to enhance its Hajj services in years to come. The airline already has a licence from Saudi authorities to operate Hajj flights, and the company hopes to add more cities. PIA currently offers Hajj flights from eight different cities in Pakistan, namely Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta.
The government has issued a circular that all those who wish to perform Hajj must be registered with the ministry of religious affairs. The ministry has also stressed that passengers come forward to perform Hajj to improve their spiritual wellbeing and seek forgiveness for their sins. The Hajj flights will be operated to the four holy cities of Islam, including Mecca, where the Kaaba is located.
PIA will commence operations from Karachi, Quetta, and Islamabad in June, with flights between Karachi and King AbdulAziz International Airport in Riyadh on Sunday. Flights will depart Karachi at 5:30 AM every day except Saturday. The longest Hajj-bound flight is scheduled to depart Peshawar at 3:05 PM on Sunday, which will reach King AbdulAziz International Airport in time for the evening prayer.
The airline will also offer a flight between Lahore and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Saturday. Flights between Quetta and Madina are set to be launched soon, while flights between Peshawar and Madina are expected to occur later this month. The airline will continue offering flights between Karachi and King AbdulAziz International Airport during Hajj.
PIA has also improved its cargo infrastructure by constructing an additional terminal at the airport. The airline has also enhanced its in-flight food services by purchasing new equipment and food items. PIA will also provide catering services to all passengers on the Hajj flights instead of delivering meals only to female pilgrims. The airline will also make new arrangements for passengers with special needs. PIA is also preparing to provide first-class accommodation to its passengers during Hajj. The aircraft will operate two flights every day during the Hajj period.
PIA will make all necessary arrangements for a safe and successful Hajj operation. The airline has already started hiring staff, purchasing equipment, improving airport infrastructure, and providing catering services for passengers. PIA is also planning to launch additional Hajj flights from other cities in Pakistan in the coming years to meet additional demand for flights during the annual religious event.