The Financial Express

Air India issues apology after banning Zamzam water

Published: July 09, 2019 16:55:53 | Updated: July 10, 2019 10:09:05

-Reuters file photo -Reuters file photo

Air India has issued an apology and withdrawn its decision to ban holy Zamzam water on its narrow-body aircraft as many Hajj pilgrims of the country expressed displeasure.

The Indian flag carrier also posted a clarification over the issue on Twitter on Tuesday morning, report Khaleej Times and Times of India.

"With reference to instructions regarding non carriage of Zamzam cans, on AI966 and AI964, we wish to clarify that passengers are allowed to carry Zamzam cans within their permissible baggage allowance," the Air India wrote.

The airline also apologised for the inconvenience it has caused its passengers.

About the ban

On July 4, Air India issued a circular that said its flights operating between Jeddah -Hyderabad - Mumbai and Jeddah - Cochin till September 15 will not allow Zamzam water on them.

“Due to change of aircraft and limitation of seats, Zamzam cans will not be allowed on our flights,” said the letter.

Many pilgrims and tour operators expressed annoyance after the decision.

Later, Hajj Committee of India CEO MA Khan said that Air India is bound to provide a  5-litre Zamzam water can to each pilgrim returning from Hajj.

“This is part of the MOU signed between AI and Hajj Committee.”

An AI official, who requested anonymity, confirmed that "the ban was put in place for narrow-body aircraft due to space constraints". However, the official said the issue is being "discussed internally".

Another official of the airline said that in 2014, an agreement had been put in place to directly transport bottles of Zamzam from Jeddah to India and distribute them to the pilgrims upon their return. However, he did not clarify whether the practice is still being observed.

"We are working towards resolving the matter," added the official. He clarified that majority of AI flights from India to Saudi Arabia - especially from major cities such as Mumbai and Delhi - are operated on wide-body aircraft, where Zamzam water is allowed on board.

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