Mumbai Airport is home to 16,000 pilgrims flying out of Mumbai in 52 flights. The airport authorities and the Haj Committee of India have made massive preparations to ensure a smooth experience for passengers.
It is probably an entry for the Guinness Book of World records.
There are 16,000 pilgrims flying out of Mumbai alone in 52 flights beginning July 29.
Thankfully, the airport authorities and the Haj Committee of India have made massive preparations to ensure that the passengers have a smooth experience and are happy.
In fact, Haj pilgrims have been a constant presence at the Mumbai international airport for over the past 50 years.
The pilgrims make the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Haj Pilgrims Social Workers Group ensures that the departure and arrival of the pilgrims goes off smoothly and without a hitch
The Haj Pilgrims Social Workers Group was founded by Javed Shaikh and Mehboob Shaikh 52 years ago.
The volunteers of the social group assist pilgrims till the immigration counters and ensure they board flights to Jeddah.
A majority of the pilgrims are first-time flyers and the volunteers ensure that everyone stays in a group and have travel documents ready.
They are helped to collect boarding passes, clear immigration and board flights.
The flights to and from Jeddah commence 10 pm onwards.
This means that the volunteers have to spend the whole night in the airport running around.
The Indian Express pointed out that nearly 50 men and women have volunteered this year.
The volunteers have been granted different levels of clearances. Some volunteers cannot go past the departure and arrival gates, some can stay only within the airline check-in counters, and only six can stay with passengers till they take off.
The volunteers spend the first fortnight of August briefing pilgrims, sleeping little through the night before returning to work the next day. Since last week, they are back at the airport to safely deliver pilgrims back to their families.
Every flight that arrives needs the services of the volunteers. In two nights, 3,445 people arrive in 13 flights.
The volunteers are not paid, but do this because it is an important service.
Thankfully, the Haj pilgrims are quite happy with the facilities that they receive at Mumbai airport.