Haj pilgrims from Telangana will have a long journey via Muscat

Journey time from Hyderabad to Jeddah will be extended from the usual 4 hours to 8 hours

Hyderabad: The Telangana Haj Committee is facing challenges in arranging direct flights for the pilgrims traveling to Jeddah for Haj 2023. As a result, the journey time from Hyderabad to Jeddah will be extended from the usual 4 hours to 8 hours, with a layover in Muscat. The committee was unable to secure flights from Saudi Airlines for this year’s Haj, leading to the alternative route through Muscat.

The departure schedule for the pilgrims has now been finalized by the Telangana Haj Committee. Starting from June 7, the pilgrims will depart from Hyderabad International Airport in small flights accommodating 150 passengers each. The first flight is scheduled to depart at 10:15 am Indian Standard Time and arrive at 3:30 PM Saudi Standard Time. However, due to the longer journey duration, pilgrims will need to arrive at the airport three hours in advance for the 10:15 am flight. This means that pilgrims who start their travel preparations at 5 am will reach Jeddah at 6 pm, making the overall journey duration 11 hours.

From June 7 until June 22, three flights will operate daily, sending a total of 350 pilgrims each day. Air travel experts express concerns regarding this decision, as the extended journey time in small planes can cause discomfort, especially when traveling in the state of Ihram, a sacred state for pilgrims. In the past, during the TDP regime, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu initiated direct flights from Hyderabad to Jeddah to facilitate pilgrims from united Andhra Pradesh. However, in the 10 years since the formation of Telangana, the government has not been able to maintain direct flights or improve facilities for the pilgrims.

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Airline experts suggest that if larger aircraft from Air Vistara are arranged, a direct flight can be operated on the Hyderabad-Jeddah route, eliminating the need for a layover. The Haj Committee has made arrangements for pilgrims from Varanasi, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad to travel via Saudi Airlines. With effective representation by the Telangana Haj Committee, it would have been possible to secure the services of Saudi Airlines or Air India, enabling the pilgrims from Telangana to complete their Hyderabad-Jeddah journey in 3:30 to 4:00 hours.

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