India has approved four new embarkation points for pilgrims for the Hajj in 2023, two of them in Kerala state.
Kannur and Calicut in the Malabar area of the state are the new airports of embarkation for Keralites.
The Gulf region hosts millions of expatriates from Kerala and the new embarkation points will come as a consolation for them when their families and relatives go on Hajj from this year onwards.
Two other airports newly approved for Hajj pilgrims are Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh and Agartala in Tripura.
“The final number of embarkation points will be subject to a minimum number of passengers opting for an airport and the feasibility of setting up of the related infrastructure,” India’s Minister of Minority Affairs, Smriti Zubin Irani, told Parliament. “Pilgrims have been given options to travel from 25 embarkation points for Hajj 2023.”
She said that during interactive sessions with stakeholders, including Hajj Committees in states, demands for more embarkation points were received. After analysing all the feedback, new airports for Hajj departures were added to reduce the difficulties pilgrims face due to fewer embarkation points.
Kerala already has a third designated Hajj departure airport, Cochin.