The first Hajj flight carrying Bangladeshi pilgrims will fly to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on May 31 and the Hajjis will pay Tk 140,000 in airfare, State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali has said on Wednesday.
The state minister came up with the information following a discussion on Hajj management at the secretariat.
They also demanded to reduce the airfare.
State Minister Mahbub Ali said, “We have discussed the idea of operating the first Hajj flight of on May 31. In order to complete all the necessary work, we have discussed this issue and made a joint decision.”
He said they have made some decisions so that after two years of break due coronavirus pandemic, pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia without any hassle.
Asked about the airfare, the state minister said, “Fuel cost has almost doubled. In that case, considering everything, it has been calculated that the fare can be fixed at Tk 150,000 but considering the welfare of the pilgrims we have fixed the airfare at Tk 140,000.”
He said that this time Biman will carry some 31,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims through 75 dedicated flights and use two large Boeing 777 aircraft.
“The fare will be the same with Saudi Airlines,” Mahbub Ali said, adding that in 2019 the airfare for Bangladeshi Hajjis was fixed at Tk 128,000.
Terming the target of operating the first Hajj flight on May 31 unrealistic, HAAB President M Shahadat Hossain Taslim said that it is impossible to begin Hajj flights on the declared deadline.
“There is a lot of work including registration, agency to agency coordination, monajjem selection, house rent in Saudi Arabia, transportation, food arrangements. After completion of all these things, pilgrims will get and only then they will be allowed to go,” he said.
“It’s a long process. Therefore, there are enough reasons for HAAB to not be able to prepare for the Hajj in any way from May 31,” HAAB President added.
He also said that they are yet to know how much it will cost in the Saudi part.
Religious Affairs Ministry Secretary Kazi Enamul Hasan, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mokammel Hossain, Biman Bangladesh Airlines Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Abu Saleh Mohammad Mostafa Kamal and representatives of Saudia Airlines, among others, were present at the briefing.