|Muhammad Junaid Yunus, MD PIA|
National carrier PIA has so far air lifted 14,840 intending Hajj pilgrims by 34 direct flights to Jeddah.
Managing Director PIA, Muhammad Junaid Yunus, since the first Hajj flight left from Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi, is personally supervising to ensure that Hujj flights operated as per schedule.
According to the airline spokesman, PIA is carrying out its Hujj operation through its own fleet, without compromising the domestic and international schedule which is being maintained according to the expected time of departures (ETD) and arrivals (ETA).
Besides, maintaining the schedule of daily eight hajj flights from federal and provincial capitals,PIA is also ensuring its regular 125 flight departures and arrivals for its an estimated 13-14 thousand international and domestic passengers on daily basis.
According to PIA, so far four Hajj flights from Karachi have carried 2012 intending pilgrims; eight flights from Lahore carried 4024; nine flights from Islamabad carried 4527; nine flights from Peshawar carried 2961 and four flights from Quetta carried 1316 to Jeddah.
However, quoting teachnical reasons, PIA said that to ensure safety of the aircraft and passengers and to make journey comfortable, there were some delays in the departure of regular flights which were allowed to depart as soon as the engineers confirmed the aircraft safety.
As regards the Hajj flights, so far, only one from Peshawar suffered 27 minute delay due to passenger's scrutiny and narcotic checking at the airport on Sept 20.
PIA engineering is also maintaining fitness of 32 aircraft out of fleet of 38 for safe air travel while five planes are under major maintenance due to Bird hits at Lahore and Karachi needing new engines. One ATR 42-500 that skidded off the main runway few days back due to torrential rains in Lahore is also undergoing repairs.
Spokesman said that PIA's 204 pre-Hajj flight departures t Jeddah and 4 direct flights to Madinah-tul-Munawwara will continue till October 20. This year PIA is expected to carry over 95,000 pilgrims through Hajj and regular flights.