Tehran (IP) - The CEO of the Islamic Republic of Iran Airlines stated that the return of the pilgrims began on 21 June and will end on July 13. He said that 33,226 pilgrims have returned to the country so far.

Iran Press/Iran news: Shamsuddin Farzadipour said that Hajj planning is usually done about 6 months before the return operation. 

He added: "This year, as in previous years, the necessary planning was done and we announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran Airlines can transport 50,000 pilgrims, thus the transportation of the remaining 40,000 pilgrims was entrusted to another airline.

He said: "Necessary measures were taken in this regard, but one or two days before the Hajj operation, Saudi Arabia refused to accept those airlines, and only Iran Air was obliged to transport 90,000 pilgrims."

Iran Air chief noted: "To transfer this number of pilgrims, the plans were changed and the departure operation of the pilgrims was carried out in the best possible condition in a period of about one month from May 22 to June 21. Flights were made from 21 airports and the total number of flights to Medina was 440 and to Jeddah 318.

In the end, he said: "Saudi Arabia did not allow Meraj Airlines to transfer pilgrims and they did not provide any reason for their decision."