Because of delayed flights, several passengers who were returning home after performing Umra not only faced inconvenience but also could not celebrate Eid with their loved ones back home.
“My husband and I got reserved seats for a Lahore-bound PIA flight on the second day of Eid after failing to get the booking before Eid. However, it was not less than an ordeal to wait for over 16 hours at Jeddah airport to catch our flight,” Samia Ahmad of Silakot told Dawn by phone.
She said first “we were told that the flight is three hours behind schedule, then the airport authorities continued adding hours”.
A PIA spokesman, Sultan Hasan, told Dawn that Jeddah airport did not have enough capacity to accommodate a large number of flights coming from countries like Indonesia, Turkey, India and Pakistan to collect Umra pilgrims. Besides, the Jeddah airport remained closed for eight hours after a quarrel between two groups.
According to officials, PK-7326 Jeddah-Islamabad was delayed by 29 hours, PK-7296 Jeddah-Karachi by six hours, PK-7326 Jeddah-Islamabad eight hours, PK-746 Jeddah-Sialkot by 16 hours, PK-732 Jeddah-Karachi seven hours, PK-7434 Jeddah-Lahore by 11 hours, PK 7298 Jeddah-Islamabad by eight hours, PK-7328 Jeddah-Karachi by 16 hours, PK-760 Jeddah-Lahore by 39 hours, PK-7354 Jeddah-Islamabad by six hours, PK-7384 Jeddah-Lahore by 20 hours, PK-7316 Jeddah-Karachi by 9 hours, PK-7402 Jeddah-Lahore by 22 hours, PK-725 Lahore-Riyadh by 16 hours, PK-726 Riyadh-Lahore by 17 hours, PK-7406 Jeddah-Lahore by 12 hours and PK-736 Jeddah-Peshawar by five hours.