In the fourth batch, as many as 304 Hajj pilgrims Sunday departed for Saudi Arabia from Srinagar International Airport in two flights.
Amid emotional scenes, the pilgrims were greeted and seen-off by their relatives at the Hajj House at Bemina, here.
A total of 11,700 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will perform this year’s Hajj. The first batch of pilgrims left Srinagar on July 4. The last batch will leave on July 29.
As per the Hajj House spokesman, the fourth batch departed from Srinagar airport in two morning flights. It included 167 male and 137 female pilgrims of whom 102 were from Srinagar, 23 from Anantnag, 133 from Bandipora,21 from Baramulla, 6 from Budgam, 5 from Kupwara , 6 from Pulwama and 8 from Shopian. Executive Officer, State Hajj Committee, Abdul Salaam Mir said the budget airliner SpiceJet will ferry pilgrims to Medina till July 20 after which flights are scheduled to depart for Jeddah as pilgrims will be heading towards Makkah then. Mir said all arrangements have been made at the Hajj House in Bemina.
“The Hajj House acts as mini airport for pilgrims. It provides all arrangements like transportation, boarding, lodging, luggage checking and security,” Mir said, adding that there is also arrangement of hassle-free screening of baggage, refreshment, food, Nimaz, distribution of travel documents and issuance of boarding passes at the Hajj House for hassle-free journey of pilgrims.
SpiceJet will operate 148 special flights from and to Srinagar to ferry pilgrims for this year’s Hajj. The flights will be operated between July 4 and July 29 and for return, the flights are scheduled between August 16 and September 11.
As per the company spokesman, the airline has deployed its Boeing 737-800 aircraft to ferry pilgrims from Srinagar.
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 past we operated some Hajj flights from the Valley in 2011 but this is for the first time we are handling the operations all by ourselves. We are hopeful that pilgrims will receive utmost comfort during the journey,” said an airline executive.