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KARACHI: The Road to Mecca Project, which will facilitate over 16,000 government-sponsored Hajj pilgrims from Karachi, is set to commence on May 9 and will continue until June 8. An additional 15,000 pilgrims will also travel to Saudi Arabia on commercial flights from Jinnah International Airport.

According to the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA), Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport is making comprehensive preparations to ensure a seamless experience for thousands of Hajj pilgrims set to embark on their spiritual journey to Saudi Arabia under the government’s ‘Road to Mecca’ project.

For the purpose, a high-level meeting took place at the airport, involving all key stakeholders including airlines, ground handlers, security agencies, customs, and health authorities.

The meeting focused on streamlining procedures and logistics for the Hajj pilgrims’ entire journey through the airport, from arrival to departure for Saudi Arabia after completing immigration formalities at the international satellite terminal.

The meeting underscored the significance of providing an exceptional experience for the pilgrims, who must be treated as “honoured guests.” The airport administration urged all agencies to extend their full cooperation in facilitating the pilgrims’ smooth transit.

Meanwhile, airlines have been directed to submit their Hajj flight schedules and aircraft details promptly to enable efficient parking bay allocation. Border health officials have been instructed to be on standby to assist the pilgrims with any medical needs.

Director Hajj Karachi Imtiaz A Shah commended the civil aviation authorities and Karachi airport administration for their collaborative efforts in managing the ‘Road to Mecca’ initiative. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will operate dedicated Hajj flights from Sukkur and Quetta, with all pilgrims transiting through Karachi before departing for the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi officials will be stationed at eight dedicated counters in the international departure area to assist with immigration and customs procedures.

All agencies at Jinnah International Airport have reaffirmed their commitment to extending full support to the Hajj pilgrims, ensuring their journey remains comfortable and hassle-free from start to finish, PCAA said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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