Air India Express (AIXL), India’s first international budget airline, is all set to commence Government Haj Charter services from Kannur and Kozhikode on June 4, 2023. This is the first time the airline is operating Haj services.
The first Haj flight from Kannur, IX 3027, is scheduled to depart at 1:45AM IST and will arrive in Jeddah at 5:45AM (local time). Capt. Ujjwal Mehra and First Officer Sanket Abarao Komatwar will operate the flight with cabin crew members Praveen Naik, Deepak Verma, Sachin Kumar
and Monika Datta. The first Haj flight from Kozhikode, IX 3031, to Jeddah is scheduled to take off at 4.25AM IST and will arrive in Jeddah at 8.25AM (local time). Capt. Navdeep Singh, First Officer Prateek Shekhawat and cabin crew members Sanjeeth Kumar M, Harshita Manihar,
Kankana Chowdhury and Monisha R will operate the flight.
The Government Haj Charters will be carried out in two phases. In Phase 1, Air India Express will operate 44 flights from Kozhikode and 13 flights from Kannur to Jeddah and plans to carry 8236 Haj pilgrims. In Phase 2, the airline will operate 44 flights from Medina to Kozhikode and
13 flights from Medina to Kannur.
Air India Express has made extensive arrangements to ensure a seamless travel experience. AIXL Airport Services Officers and Haj committee representatives will be stationed at Kozhikode International Airport, Kannur International Airport, King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah,
and Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport, Medina airports, providing continuous assistance and support.
The airline has introduced colour-coded pouches for elderly pilgrims to carry their boarding passes, as well as brightly coloured luggage tags for easier identification and to prevent baggage mishandling. Special assistance, including a collection of checked-in bags from pilgrims’ residences in Medina, will be provided. Catering services will include a meal box at check-in, a hot meal service onboard, and packed snacks upon disembarkation. The baggage allowance will be 40 kg in two portions, with a usual 7kg hand baggage allowance.
Air India Express will also ensure the availability of ZamZam water. The airline will transport Zam Zam water on the return ferry flights and keep it at Kozhikode and Kannur airports. Upon arrival, each pilgrim will be offered a 5-litre can of ZamZam water. Air India has also been operating Haj flights from Chennai and Jaipur airports since May 21, 2023. Air India will operate a total of 46 flights from Jaipur and Chennai to Medina and Jeddah, respectively. Air India Express and Air India combined will be flying a total of around 19,000 pilgrims.