The government has decided to re-allocate the Haj flights that were to be operated by crisis-hit Go First from 10 Indian cities to IndiGo and two Saudi Arabian airlines, a senior official said on Thursday.
The decision comes against the backdrop of the uncertainty over cash-starved Go First, which has cancelled all flights since May 3. The budget airline's plea for voluntary insolvency resolution proceedings has also been admitted by the National Company Law Tribunal.
After discussions in the wake of the Go First crisis, the civil aviation ministry has decided to reallocate the flights for the Haj pilgrimage that was to be operated by the carrier.
Go First is scheduled to operate the flights from 10 embarkation points in different parts of the country and now those flights will be operated by IndiGo and two Saudi carriers -- Saudia and flyadeal, the official told PTI.
For this year's Haj pilgrimage, the official said there will be a total of 22 embarkation points. Out of them, Go First was to operate from 10 embarkation points, SpiceJet from 4 points, Saudia from 2 points, Air India, Air India Express and Vistara from 2 points each, the official said.
Flights for Haj pilgrims will commence later this month and will be on till the second week of July.
For this year, a quota of 1,75,025 Haj pilgrims has been allotted to India. The annual pilgrimage will take place around June-end.
In February, the minority affairs ministry told the Lok Sabha that it had a number of interactive sessions on Haj management with stakeholders, including the Haj Committees of the states and Union Territories, wherein requests for restoration of the Haj quota were received.
The issue was addressed under the annual bilateral agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for Haj 2023 and in spite of the challenges of COVID-19, the original Haj quota of the country i.e. 1,75,025 has been restored for Haj 2023, it had said.
The quota earmarked for the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) under the Annual Bilateral Agreement is meant for pilgrims from various states and UTs for Haj 2023.
Meanwhile, uncertainty remains over the future of Go First. An Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) has been appointed by the NCLT to manage the affairs of Go First Airline under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) but some lessors have challenged the tribunal's ruling.
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