The government has decided to start Hajj flights on June 5, despite indicating earlier that the travels would begin as early as May 31.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open the Hajj camps on June 3 or June 4, State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan told reporters in Dhaka on Tuesday, reports bdnews24.com.
Though Bangladesh was expected to start Hajj flights on May 31, Saudi Arabia was unable to complete its immigration preparations in Bangladesh in time. As such, the Ministry of Religious Affairs wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism to request that Hajj flights start running on Jun 5.
“The civil aviation ministry is ready and there shouldn’t be any problem,” Khan said.
All immigration procedures for Hajj pilgrims will be completed at the Dhaka airport under the 2022 Route to Makkah Initiative.
The process was delayed after the representatives from the Saudi government informed Bangladesh that a 40-member Saudi team would be coming to Dhaka for the Route to Makkah Initiative, but would not be able to arrive before Jun 2.
The necessary devices and equipment for the pre-arrival immigration procedures have yet to arrive in Dhaka and will be sent alongside the Saudi team. It will also take time to install the devices at the airport. It was not possible to arrange for pre-arrival immigration by May 31 under the circumstances.
The Hajj will begin in Saudi Arabia on Jul 8, subject to the sighting of the moon.
This year, 57,585 pilgrims from Bangladesh will be allowed to make the journey. Half of them will fly aboard Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The national carrier will operate 75 Hajj flights. Each passenger will be charged Tk 140,000.
This year, only those under the age of 65 and fully vaccinated will be able to make the pilgrimage. Travellers must also have a COVID-negative certificate prior to departure and follow health restrictions rigorously.