In an effort to provide more flying options for pilgrims during the Hajj season, Air India and Air India Express will operate special Hajj flights from Jaipur, Chennai, Kozhikode, and Kannur, to Jeddah and Medina, an official statement noted. With the collaboration, the two carriers aim to fly close to 19,000 pilgrims this year.
The first Air India flight as part of the arrangement, took off from Jaipur International Airport to Medina on May 21, 2023. According to the statement in the first phase, Air India will operate 46 flights from Jaipur and Chennai to Medina and Jeddah until June 21, 2023.
During the second phase, Air India will bring back the pilgrims from Jeddah and Medina to Jaipur and Chennai by operating 43 flights from July 3, 2023, to August 2, 2023. The airline expects a a total of 10318 passengers to fly to Saudi Arabia with its Boeing 787 and Airbus 321neo aircraft.
Meanwhile, Air India Express will deploy its B737-800 aircraft to operate flights from Kozhikode and Kannur to Jeddah on June 4, 2023, and June 22, 2023, in the first phase. The airlines will fly back from Medina to Kozhikode and Kannur from July 13, 2023, to August 2, 2023.
Commenting on the association, Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD of Air India, said, "Our collective effort with Air India Express is to provide unparalleled comfort and convenience to the passengers on this pilgrimage. We look forward to serving the pilgrims through our dedicated flights. We have taken special efforts to boost our on-ground teams at the relevant airports to ensure special care for all our valued guests on these flights."
Aloke Singh, managing director of Air India Express & AirAsia India, expressed delight in operating Haj special flights for the benefit of pilgrims. "With this special initiative, Air India Express and Air India are going the extra mile to ensure a seamless travel experience, enabling our passengers to embark on their spiritual quest with peace of mind and undivided focus," Singh added.
Both airlines have streamlined their resources for a seamless travel experience for the pilgrims. They have set up special teams and dedicated control centres at all four stations in India and at Jeddah and Medina, the statement mentioned.