SpiceJet to operate 148 Hajj flights from and to Srinagar

Budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday announced it will be operating 148 special flights from and to Srinagar to ferry pilgrims for this year’s Hajj.

The flights will be operated between 4 July and 29 July and 16 August and 11 September.

A spokesman of the airline said it will fly more than 11,000 Hajj pilgrims from Srinagar to Madina and Jeddah and back on special flights.

“SpiceJet is honoured to play a small part in helping pilgrims travel to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage this year,” Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of the airline, said in a statement.

“We will make every effort to provide a hassle-free and delightful travel experience for all our pilgrim passengers,” he said.

As per the spokesman, the airline will deploy its Boeing 737-800 aircraft to ferry pilgrims.

Jeddah is in close proximity to the pilgrim destinations of Makkah and Madina and its King Abdul Aziz International Airport acts as one of the main transit points for lakhs of Hajj pilgrims and tourists across the globe.

In March, SpiceJet had announced daily non-stop commercial flight operations between Hyderabad and Jeddah.

While SpiceJet will be handling Hajj operations from Srinagar for the first time, divisional administration has recently asked airport authorities to ensure that Hajj flights depart on scheduled time.

Hajj Officer Muhammad Maqbool said they are in close coordination with the Airports Authority of India and other officials to ensure smooth departure of flights.

Maqbool said some of the pilgrims from far-flung areas have been provided accommodation at Srinagar.  “There would be two flights daily from 4 July to 20 July and then four flights daily. All arrangements have been put in place,” Maqbool said.

A local representative of SpiceJet told Greater Kashmir the airline is working toward maintaining punctuality even though it is single-handedly operating Hajj flights from Jammu and Kashmir.

He said Hajj operations from Indore and Bhopal led by SpiceJet during last few years were “quite smooth and on-time.”

“In past we operated some Hajj flights from the Valley in 2011 but this is for the first time we are handling the operations entirely. The fact that SpiceJet now operates flights from various cities in India shows that the airline has grown by leaps and bounds,” the official said.