Hajj flights begin today
Hajj flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines begin tonight with a Boeing-747 carrying 477 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
The flight is scheduled to leave Dhaka for Jeddah at 10:40pm.
About 94,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh are likely to perform hajj this year, Biman officials said.
Around 55,000 Bangladeshis performed hajj last year.
Civil Aviation Minister GM Quader told journalists yesterday, "We have taken all steps to ensure the hajj flights go on in a decent way."
Quader and chief of the parliamentary body on his ministry Mosharraf Hossain referred to the much larger number of pilgrims this year, and said it is a huge task to complete the hajj flights satisfactorily.
They were talking to the media after a meeting of the parliamentary watchdog at Biman's head office at Kurmitola.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday warned against any negligence in hajj management.
“You are taking care of almighty Allah's guests (pilgrims)…Be careful that no negligence takes place,” she told officials while inaugurating the National Hajj Programme - 2010 at the Hajj Camp in the capital.
Apart from Biman, 10 other airlines will carry Bangladeshi pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia.
This year 6,565 will perform hajj under government management and 87,167 under different hajj agencies.
Biman plans to ferry some 45,000 pilgrims to and from Jeddah by operating 198 flights in two months.
The national flag carrier has procured two Boeing 747-400 aircraft on lease for carrying them. It has also engaged a DC-10-30 aircraft for the task, said Khan Musharraf Hussein, Biman's deputy general manager.