Every year a massive amount of people go for Hajj from all parts of the world to Saudi Arabia. And 200,000 people leave for Hajj from Pakistan alone. This is the number for whose application for Hajj gets accepted. However, the number of people who apply for it is even greater. Hajj is an obligation to every able Muslim which is why every Muslim tries to perform this pilgrim consecutive years. Hence, Hajj Operations are a difficult task to manage for PIA. Meanwhile, the operation earns the national airline a huge revenue
The number of Pakistanis who performed Hajj this year was around 250,000. Including many Pakistani celebrities, who went for Hajj this year. Out of these 250,000, approximately 82,000 pilgrims had flown via PIA. This is 20% more than last year when 68,000 people went for Hajj through the national airline as per the statement of Mashhood Tajwar, PIA spokesperson.
Few out of the rest of Hajj pilgrims are carried with Saudi Airlines. As the traffic of Hajj flights is divided between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Where Saudi Airlines and PIA are the major players facilitating the flights. However, the remaining pilgrims proceed through Airblue, Emirates Etihad, and other airlines.
Cost of Hajj Packages This Year
Because of the devaluation of the rupee, the cost of Hajj packages had escalated to Rs400,000. This is the cost of the Hajj packages that were arranged by the government. Under the project Road To Makkah which also provided relief to Hujjaj in immigration. The cost of Hajj for privately taken pilgrims goes even beyond that reaching up to three million, according to an aviation source.
The revenue that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has generated from the Hajj Operations flights is around 7-8b. Lower than Rs25 billion that was the anticipated revenue this year.
Prices of the tickets vary from the airports that are situated on the northern side of Pakistan i.e. Lahore airport and Islamabad airport to the Southern side airports i.e. Karachi. The prices of the ticket ranged from Rs110,000 to Rs150,000 from Lahore and Islamabad Airport. While the cost of tickets from Karachi airport ranged between Rs100,000-Rs105,000.
The reason why privately arranged packages are more expensive is Hajj being the peak time of the year. In this time the airfares shoot up which makes privately arranged Hajj packages more expensive than the ones arranged by the government.
During the last year’s Hajj season, Shaheen Airlines was going through financial crisis based on which Airblue and PIA got all the passengers. Receiving a bigger share in the revenue. However, this year’s case was not the same.
Time Span In Government And Privately Offered Hajj Packages
Private operators of hajj operations were offering packages that were as small as one week to 15 days. While the packages arranged by the government took over a month. These private hajj operators were booking flights and sending their clients late to Saudi Arabia. And booked early flights for them to Pakistan. Managing the Hajj package within a week.
The PIA spokesperson informed that overall the people who go for Umrah every year from Pakistan is estimated to be more than one million. That is considerably a huge number of people traveling to Makkah.
All of the Pakistanis wish to visit the Holy Kaaba every year. But not everyone gets the chance. As the government has defined a limited quota. So everyone has to wait for their turn year after year.
May anyone who hasn’t yet gotten the opportunity to perform Hajj, get the opportunity in the coming year. Ameen!