[ Front Page ] 2018-07-12
Agencies Yet to Collect Air Tickets
Uncertainty looms over hajj flights
Sohel Hossain Patwary  

Problem with carrying hajj pilgrims may happen this year like the previous year as some agencies are yet to collect air tickets for pilgrims though only two days are left before begining of hajj flights.

Sources said hajj agencies have not collected tickets for around 12,000 pilgrims, inviting riks of indiscipline in hajj flight operation.
 They said there is no chance for airlines operating hajj flights from Dhaka to get additional slots at Jeddah airport this year to operate more than stipulated number of flights.

The Saudi authorities have already declared that they will not allocate any additional slots for operation of flights cancelled earlier.

The airlines, which have slots to carry the hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, have been requesting the hajj agencies to collect tickets and complete the visa procedures for the pilgirms on time so that they can avoid any flight rescheduling this year.

Ticket and visa crisis compelled Biman Bangladesh Airlines, which carries half of the total pilgrims from Bangladesh, to reschedule 24 flights last year that brought untold sufferings to aspirant pilgrims.

From the previous year’s bitter experience of flight rescheduling, Biman authorities have been urging the agencies to collect tickets since the beginning of this season.

“In a bid to avoid flight-related uncertainty during the hajj season, we started selling tickets 50 days before the hajj and requested the hajj agencies to collect the tickets,” said Shakil Meraz, spokesperson of the Biman.
Hajj flights will begin from next Saturday.

Shakil said Biman will try to operate hajj flights with full of pilgrims as the Saudi authorities will not allow any additional slots this year.

Sources said the government, in a circular, this year asked the hajj agencies to collect air tickets before visas.

Despite the circular, some hajj agencies have not collected tickets for their registered pilgrims yet, they said.

Sources at Biman said if the hajj agencies do not cooperate with them in this regard, it may bring disorder in the flight operation and thuse cause sufferings to the aspirant pilgrims.

Sources at the Ministry of Religious Affairs said around 300 hajj agencies, out of 528 registered agencies, till Tuesday did not submit residence-related documents to the Saudi Arabian hajj ministry through online. It means that they have not cleared the residence rent which is one of the perquisites for providing visa.

Generally, the Saudi Arabian government provides visa to the pilgrims after getting ensured about the residence, muallem, catering service with their visa application.

This year, a total of 1, 27,198 pilgrims will perform hajj from Bangladesh under the private and government management. Like previous years, two airlines- Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airline- will carry the hajj aspirants equally from July 14-August 15.

However, Religious affairs minister Matior Rahman at a meeting on Monday said this year the pilgrims can perform hajj in a better way than the previous year as all preparation for hajj is completed already.

Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) secretary general Shahadat Hossain claimed that the situation this year is quite good than the previous years.

Hope, there will be no trouble in this year’s hajj season, he assured.
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