Air India has issued a tender seeking charter aircraft for its hadj operations this year.
The carrier specifies in its tender documents that the aircraft, which could be a narrowbody or widebody, would have to be in an all-economy class configuration and would be operated on behalf of Air India for the Indian government.
The aircraft will be used to operate twice daily nonstop services from Ahmedabad, Chennai, Nagpur and Varanasi, while services departing from Kolkata will be operated thrice daily.
Flights departing from Kolkata and Varanasi will depart to Medina in the first phase starting 7 September, and will return from Jeddah in the second phase starting 19 October.
Meanwhile, flights departing from Ahmedabad, Chennai and Nagpur will depart starting 25 September to Jeddah in the first phase, and will return from Medina in the second phase starting 31 October.
Air India has expressed its preference for aircraft younger than 20 years old, should offers for widebodies be made. Such offers will have to be supported with a valid certificate of airworthiness at all embarkation points that can support widebody aircraft operations, it says.
The bidders or operators would have to also comply with the requirements from India's directorate general for civil aviation and Saudi Arabia's general authority of civil aviation.
Responses are due by 5 July.