LAHORE - First Pre-Haj flight, PK 2201, took off at 08:00 hours from Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore carrying 315 pilgrims when Pakistan International Airline’s Pre-Hajj Operation 2014 commenced on Thursday.

The pilgrims were seen off by Secretary Aviation and PIA Chairman Muhammad Ali Gardezi at Lahore whereas the pilgrims from Karachi were seen off by PIA Managing Director Shahnawaz Rehman and Director Airport Services Aijaz Mazhar.

From Karachi, another Pre-Haj flight, PK 2001, took off from Jinnah International Airport Karachi for Jeddah, carrying 300 intending pilgrims. On the first day of Pre-hajj operation, the National Flag Carrier carried 1,004 pilgrims to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; one flight from Karachi and two flights from Lahore.

PIA Managing Director Shahnawaz Rehman, while talking to pilgrims, said that Special Haj information desks had been set up at the airports and PIA scouts had been deputed for assisting the pilgrims. Leaflets containing information regarding baggage allowance, excess baggage, change of booking and related information have been distributed to Hajj camps, PIA ticketing offices and the airline’s travel agents for the pilgrims, he said.

PIA is conducting Haj operation with its own fleet consisting of Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline is operating haj flights from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Sialkot.

Meanwhile, the PIA MD has instructed all concerned departments to provide best services to the pilgrims. The first Pre-Hajj flights from Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar regions PK 2203, PK 2601 and PK 2501 respectively will commence from today: 29th August 2014.

This year, PIA will be carrying around 54,000 intending pilgrims to the Holy Land. Out of which 43,000 pilgrims will be carried by 112 flights and 11,000 through schedule flights from all over Pakistan.