KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by 34 direct flights to Jeddah from Pakistan has so far taken 14,840 intending pilgrims for the holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, PIA spokesperson said on Sunday.
Managing Director PIA Muhammad Junaid Yunus since the departure of the first Hajj flight from Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi was personally supervising to ensure the scheduled departures of the Hajj flights through the airlines own fleet without compromising the domestic and international schedule which is being maintained according to the expected time of departures (ETD) and arrivals (ETA). Besides, maintaining the departures of daily eight Hajj flights from the federal and provincial capitals of Pakistan, PIA is ensuring its regular 125 flight departures and safe landings for its 13-14 thousand international and domestic passengers on 24 hours basis daily.
So far, four Hajj flights from Karachi to Jeddah carried 2,012 intending pilgrims; eight flights from Lahore carried 4,024; nine flights from Islamabad carried 4,527; nine flights from Peshawar carried 2,961; four flights from Quetta carried 1,316 for Hajj-2012. However, to ensure safety of the aircraft and passengers and travelling journey comfortable there were some delays in departure of regular flights for technical reasons and were allowed to depart as soon as the engineering confirmed the aircraft safety. Of the Hajj flights, so far, only one from Peshawar delayed for 27 minutes due to scrutiny of passports and anti- narcotic checking at the airport on Sept 20.
PIA engineering is also keeping 32 aircraft healthy for safe air travel of the PIA fleet of 38. Five planes are under major maintenance due to Bird hits at Lahore and Karachi needing new engines, one ATR 42-500 that skidded off the main runway few days back due to torrential rains in Lahore, undergoing repairs. PIA 204 Pre-Hajj flight departures to Jeddah and 4 direct flights to Madina will continue till October 20, 2012. This year PIA is expected to carry over 95,000 pilgrims through Hajj and regular flights. – Dailytimes