KARACHI - The pre-haj operation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Karachi started on late Monday night when its first flight PK 2009 left for Medina.

A PIA spokesman, in a statement here on Tuesday, said the intending pilgrims were seen of by CEO PIA, Nayyar Hayat, along with other senior officials at the Jinnah International Airport.

The PIA’s countrywide operation of transporting nearly 60,000 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia will continue till August 26, the spokesman added.

He said PIA would operate more than 137 flights to Saudi Arabia for transporting nearly 60,000 intending pilgrims. These flights include 103 haj flights and more than 34 regular scheduled flights to Medina and Jeddah.

PIA would operate 23 flights from Islamabad with 6,096 intending pilgrims, 33 flights from Karachi with 7,613 pilgrims (including Quetta), 25 flights from Lahore with 6,966 pilgrims, 20 flights from Multan with 5,888 pilgrims, 22 flights from Peshawar with 6,898 pilgrims, 14 flights from Sialkot with 3,615 pilgrims, 09 flights from Sukkur with 1,440 pilgrims and 6 flights from Rahim Yar Khan with 960 pilgrims. 

PIA would also carry nearly 20,000 private Hujjaj through its regular scheduled flights.

The airline’s post Hajj operation of bringing back Hujjaj to Pakistan will commence from September 6 and conclude on October 5.