Bangladesh is planning to send nearly 94,000 hajj pilgrims to
Mecca, up from 59,000 a year ago, transport officials said Thursday, dpa reported.
The expected increase has prompted Bangladeshi authorities to ask their Saudi Arabian counterparts to authorize six more airlines to fly the pilgrims to Islam's holiest place.
"The Saudi authorities have approved Bangladesh's request for allowing 93,900 people to perform hajj this year," Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Ghulam Muhammd Quader said.
To reduce pressure on Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines, the authorities allowed Gulf Air, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Al Wafir and National Air Service as additional carriers for transportation of hajj passengers.
Hajj flights to Jeddah are to begin on October 8 and end on November 12. Return flights are to begin on November 22 and end on December 21.