The first flight with Haj pilgrims took off from Mangalore International Airport on Wednesday with 130 passengers.

Of them, 64 were men and the remaining were women. Of the passengers, 127 were from Dakshina Kannada and three were from Hassan district.

Minister for Information, Haj and Infrastructure R Roshan Baig flagged off the Air India Express with Minister for Health and Family Welfare UT Khader and MLAs of Mangalore City North and Mangalore City South, Mohiudeen Bava and JR Lobo. The flight did not fly directly to Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Medina, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday due to “operational reasons”. It flew to Mumbai from where the pilgrims took another flight to Medina.

According to JT Radhakrishna, director, Mangalore International Airport, from August 28 to September 1, flights would fly directly from Mangalore to Medina each time carrying 125 to 130 passengers. The Haj camp, where pilgrims assemble and clear checking and boarding formalities, has been arranged at the old terminal building.

Addressing presspersons after flagging off the flight Mr Baig said that 5,000 pilgrims would go for Haj from the State this year. Of them 700 pilgrims would be from Mangalore. The Haj flight services from Bangalore will start from September 13.

The Minister said that the flight which took off from Mangalore on Wednesday was the first flight to take off for Haj from the country this year.

Courtesy: Tulunadu news