Faizabad: Air India has issued a stern response to the Uttar Pradesh Haj Committee's reported decision to hire Saudi Airlines, instead of flag carrier, Air India, to carry the state's Haj pilgrims. Air India executive director, Jitendra Bhargava, said: ''It is the sole discretion of the Government of India to decide as to from which city which airlines will operate, Air India or Saudi Airlines.''
Media reports said Monday that the state Haj Committee had decided to use the services of Saudi Airlines to send Haj pilgrims to Jeddah, following complaints of poor service and curt behaviour by Air India staff.
On the issue of pilgrims not being allowed to carry permissible baggage, Bhargava said, ''Last year some Haj pilgrims from Lucknow had almost 200 kilogram of excess baggage with them on the return flight. They wanted it to be transported free of cost. On not being allowed to do so by the Air India officials, they prevented other Hajis from boarding, but later they had apologised in writing,'' Bhargava said.