MALAPPURAM: First flight carrying pilgrims from Kerala, Mahe and Lakshadweep Islands will take off from Calicut International Airport at Karippur on Oct.6, according to official sources. There would be two services on the inaugural day.
According to the schedule, the last flight from the state would on Oct.20.
The airline will operate 32 special services in 15 days.
On Monday, Saudi Arabian Airlines, which is operates this year’s flights from Kerala, announced detailed schedule for this year’s pilgrimage.
The schedule has been handed over to the state Hajj Committee.
The committee would allot seats to the pilgrims and publish the list within two days.
“We expect to release the pilgrims’ schedule indicating the date of the journey and the flight timing of each pilgrim by Wednesday. All preparations at the Hajj House in Karippur are almost over and the airport authority has made elaborate arrangements for the smooth operation of the flights,” state Hajj Committee Chairman Kottumala Bappu Musliyar said.
The pilgrims will be flown to Jeddah and taken to Makkah by road. They will proceed to visit Madina only after Hajj.
Pilgrims will begin their return journey from Madina on Nov.16, according to Bappu Musliyar. The last return flight will be on Nov.29.
On Oct.6, the inaugural flight will take off at 10.20am, to be followed by another at 1.20pm. There will be two flights each on Oct.7, 16 and 19.
On Oct.8, 9, 11, 18 and 20, the airlines will operate three flights each.
On Oct.13, there will be four Hajj flights, and on Oct.10, 12, 14, 15 and 17, there will be one flight each.
This year the return flights would be operated directly to Kozhikode from Madina.
Besides Saudi SIM cards with a five-riyal worth talk time, the pilgrims are provided with foreign travel cards that can be operated on any ATM or cashpoint in Saudi Arabia for the first time.
The cash cards using Visa International gateway, which can also be used for shopping, hotel bookings and other purposes are provided by the State Bank of India’s (SBI) at the embarkation points. These cards will enable pilgrims not to carry Indian currency.