DUBAI: India’s national carrier Air India has banned Zamzam cans on some of its flights with immediate effect.
The ban runs until September 15 when the last batch of Indian Haj pilgrims fly back to their home country with the holy water.
In an advisory issued to travel agents on July 4, Air India’s Jeddah sales team said Zamzam cans will not be allowed on flights AI966 (Jeddah/Hyderabad/Mumbai) and AI964 (Jeddah Cochin) “due to change of aircraft and seat limitation”
“You are requested to disseminate this information to all your colleagues and passengers to avoid any last minute inconvenience at the airport,” said the advisory.
A comment from Air India was not available. However, sources at the airline said Zamzam cans have been prohibited on flights AI966 and AI964 because they are single-aisle planes with a cabin diameter of between three of four metres.
“Narrow bodies aircraft have space constraints,” he said, adding that the decision will not affect pilgrims carrying the holy water on other Air India flights during Hajj.
However, the explanation has not cut ice with some Hajj piligrims. “How much space could a small water bottle possibly occupy,” said A.Khan who will be going for the annual Islamic pilgrimage from Mumbai later this month.
During hajj which begins on August 9, pilgrims perform a series of rituals one of which is drinking water from the sacred Zamzam well in Makkah. Many take the water home for back for family and friends
Makkah’s National Water Company (NWC), the main operator of the King Abdullah Project for Zamzam water earlier said that the holy water will now be supplied in five litre cans instead of the current 10 litre canisters.