First batch of Haj pilgrims leave Srinagar

Srinagar, Aug 17 (IANS) The first batch of 340 Saudi Arabia-bound Haj pilgrims left Srinagar on Monday.

“The first flight of Haj pilgrims carrying 340 pilgrims left for Madina (Saudi Arabia) today (Monday),” Haj officer Fayaz Ahmad Lone told reporters here.

The first flight left at 9.10 a.m. while the second flight carrying another batch of 340 pilgrims will leave for Madina on Monday at 3 p.m.

“For the first five days, two Air India flights will operate daily from Srinagar to Madina and after that, one flight will carry Haj pilgrims each day from here till August 31,” Lone said.

This year, 6,363 pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir will perform Haj.

Air India local director Muhammad Iqbal said: “For the first time, Boeing 777 has landed at Srinagar airport today (Monday) and this will carry 340 pilgrims.”

“Most of the Hajis are first time travellers and therefore, we have to guide them at every step about the travel and its requirements,” he added.

He also said the departure of the first flight carrying pilgrims was delayed by a few minutes due to bad weather as it was originally scheduled to take off at 9 a.m.

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