The government has already made arrangements for booking air tickets for record 93,761 Hajj pilgrims this year.
“We have already signed agreements with other airlines as third carrier to ensure of carrying all hajj pilgrims on time,” Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister GM Quader told BSS on Saturday.
“We have taken all kind of preparations to ensure safe journey of this record number of Hajj pilgrims so none face any difficulties in getting air tickets,” civil aviation Minister said.
The Ministry has already issued a circular directing the Hajj agencies for buying tickets for their hajj pilgrims from those airlines that have signed agreements with Biman Bangladesh for ensuring on time journey of the devotees.
The Ministry also asked the concerned airlines to issue tickets to the Hajj agencies as per their quotas and list of pilgrims on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.
Among the Hajj pilgrims, 34,000 will be carried by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and 28,000 by Saudia Airlines and the rest by other airlines, Biman sources said.
The Biman has already rented two Boeing aircraft from an Australian company for carrying the extra number of hajj pilgrims, it said.
Hajj Officer Bazlul Huq Biswas said the number of Hajj pilgrims this year crossed all records in the past. “The number has almost doubled comparing to the last year’s 58,000,” he said.
Among the total Hajj devotees, 6,629 pilgrims will perform their hajj under the government management with a cost of Taka 2.28 lakh each.
This year, many hajj agencies offered cost-effective tour- package like the government, which is one of the reasons behind the unexpected increase in the number of Hajj pilgrims, he said.
He said they made a provision this year that no visa would be issued before buying air tickets to check any harassments of the hajj pilgrims.
Presently, the Hajj agencies are busy renting houses in Saudi Arabia for the devotees and they will start applying for visa from the next week.
Biswas said they have already arranged visas for all hajj pilgrims on the government program, and the Hajj flights will begin on October 8.