Air India has issued a ban that will prevent passengers returning from the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah from carrying holy water or Zamzam on certain routes. The ban will be in place until mid-September and will impact Hajj pilgrims using the airline’s Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Jeddah-Kochi routes.
India’s flag carrier has said that it is banning passengers returning from the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah from carrying holy water – known in Islam as Zamzam – on certain routes, The Times of India reports. This ban will affect those using Air India’s Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Jeddah-Kocchi routes until September 15th.
A notice of this ban was issued on July 4th via the carrier’s office in Jeddah, which is the gateway to Mecca, one of Islam’s holiest cities and site of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. It is common for many returning pilgrims to bring water from the Well of Zamzam – which is located in Mecca – back to friends and relatives who are unable to make the journey to the city.
This year, the Hajj is to be performed in the middle of August.
According to the outlet, the notice explains that because of a change in aircraft and a subsequent limitation on seats, Zamzam cans – the vessels traditionally used to transport the holy water – will not be permitted on Air India Flight 966 and Air India Flight 964. The former serves Jeddah-Hyderabad-Mumbai while the latter serves Jeddah-Kochi.
The outlet further reports that concerned relatives have approached a member of India’s Congress, who has made contact with Air India regarding the issue.
Commenting on this ban, an unidentified source explained that, “Zamzam has been banned on flights operated by Airbus aircraft due to payload restrictions. We are forced to reduce the weight each passenger is allowed to carry.”
Update: Passengers returning from Hajj and carrying Zamzam will be given additional baggage allowance of five kilograms. Air India said the baggage allowance on flights operating out of Saudia Arabia is 40 kg, and the additional allowance is exclusively for passengers with Zamzam.
[Featured Image: Airbus]