RIYADH: In another restriction imposed on Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, Saudi Arabia has now prohibited carrying Zamzam water bottles inside checked-in baggage.
In an advisory issued by General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), the airlines have been strictly advised to stop passengers from carrying Zamzam water bottles inside checked-in baggage.
Zamzam water is from the well that was revealed to Hagar (also spelled as Hajar), the wife of Prophet Ibrahim and mother of Prophet Ismaʿil (peace be upon them all).
The well is located within the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages in order to drink its water.
The pilgrims also carry Zamzam bottles inside checked-in baggage and carry-on baggage, in order to keep for future consumption and gift to friends and other family members.
The Kingdom however has now prohibited the pilgrims from carrying the Zamzam water bottles inside checked-in baggage.
“All airlines departing from the Kingdom’s airports shall not allow passengers to carry liquids (ZamZam packages) inside their checked-in baggage”, the advisory dated May 17, 2022 said.
Checked-in baggage is the luggage delivered to an airline for transportation. It is inaccessible to the passenger during the flight as opposed to carry-on baggage.
“Failure to comply with circulars issued by GACA is an explicit violation of government’s orders. Legal procedures shall be initiated against violators and they will be held responsible”, the advisory said.
The advisory is for all airlines operating in the airports of Saudi Arabia, including private aviation, and for all flights departing from Saudi Arabian airports.
Coming ahead of Hajj 2022, the advisory is bound to shock the pilgrims as it will limit the number of Zamzam bottles they will carry after performing the annual rituals.
A 2014 order limiting the ZamZam bottles and cans that pilgrims can carry home had resulted in widespread disappointment and protests.
Earlier, passengers were allowed to take a minimum of 10 litres of Zamzam water per person, but the 2014 rule limited the amount to only 05 litres per passenger.
In a related development, the management of Harmain – the Two Holy Mosques, has warned the pilgrims from purchasing ZamZam water in their home countries.
“Those purchasing ZamZam water from their home countries should check the genuineness of the water that is being sold and understand the source of the bottles”, it said.
It also asked the pilgrims to understand the difference between official bottles of ZamZam together with the counterfeit bottles.