Private Haj pilgrims to pay flight tickets in dollars

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For the first time in the history of the country, the national carrier, Pakistan International Airline (PIA), will bill the plane tickets in dollars of the Haj pilgrims traveling as part of a private scheme.

Airline tickets for pilgrims from the southern and northern regions are expected to remain in the range of $810 to $1,100 and $860 to $1,150 respectively.

The airline set the dollar prices about a year and a half ago, but with pandemic restrictions, Muslims around the world have not been allowed to practice Hajj for two years.

The airline claimed that the dollar fares would eliminate the difference, as its tickets were also purchased abroad.

However, PIA will charge the fixed amount of Rs181,000 for the return ticket of pilgrims traveling under the government scheme.

The airline is expected to receive about 14,000 pilgrims on government quota and about 16,000 private pilgrims during this pilgrimage season.

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Pakistan has a quota of 81,000 pilgrims and usually, the government takes 60 percent of the quota itself and allocates the remainder to private operators.

Sources indicated that the government received few applications this year and that only 37,000 pilgrims would come under the government scheme whilst the remainder of the quota will be allocated to private operators.

Flights from Pakistan to Madina and Jeddah for the Haj operation were previously scheduled from 31 May to 3 July.

However, the Haj operation was delayed by one week because the government has not yet announced the Haj policy.

The post-Haj operation would be between 14 July and 13 August.

The government Haj policy determines the strength of people who go through the government system or private operators.

It also determines the pilgrims of each city and the quota for air carriers and private Haj operators.

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