Olympic subsidiary spoils hajj

STOCKHOLM (AP) – Some 1,100 pilgrims bound for Mecca have been stranded in Scandinavia after the charter company- a subsidiary of Olympic Airlines with which they were to fly- did not obtain a landing permit for Saudi Arabia. The hajj pilgrims, mostly Saudis living in the region, have been staying at hotels in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo since Saturday, at the expense of the Swedish travel group SRG. Thessaloniki-based Macedonian Airlines did not receive permission to land in Saudi Arabia because of a «misunderstanding between the carrier and Saudi aviation authorities,» SRG sales manager Martin Durnik said yesterday. «There were some documents missing,» he added. Durnik said SRG has been organizing hajj pilgrimage flights to Saudi Arabia for four years without any problems, but this was the first time it had signed a contract with Macedonian Airlines.