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Zamzam water Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Air India has backtracked on its decision to ban Zamzam cans on two of its flights.

In an advisory issued to travel agents on July 4, Air India’s Jeddah sales team had 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”.

However on Tuesday, the airline issued a statement on Twitter saying AI966 and AI964 passengers will be allowed to carry Zamzam cans within their permissible baggage allowance.

“With reference to instructions regarding non-carriage of Zamzam cans, on AI966 and AI964, we wish to clarify that passengers are allowed to carry Zamzam cans within their permissible baggage allowance. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused,” Air India said in a Twitter post.

The airline’s decision to ban zamzam had not gone down well with Haj pilgrims. Some of them even questioned Air India’s wisdom.

“How much space could a small water bottle possibly occupy,” an Indian man from Mumbai was quoted as saying in a Gulf News report on July 7.

Imposed with immediate effect, the ban was supposed to run until September 15 when the last batch of Indian Haj pilgrims fly back to their home country with the holy water.

Travel agents were requested to inform passengers about the restrictions to “avoid any last minute inconvenience at the airport”.

Faiz Mohammad who will be going for the annual Islamic pilgrimage from Hyderabad later this month says he’s glad that the airline has rescinded its decision. “Zamzam water has a special significance for Muslims. Everybody who goes for Haj carries it back home for friends and relatives.”

India’s Haj committee said only official Zamzam cans are allowed onboard. According to Makkah’s National Water Company (NWC), he holy water will be supplied in five litre cans instead of 10 litre canisters used previously.