"At first the pilgrims were to depart from Vladikavkaz /North Ossetia, Russia's republic in the North Caucasus/, Aeroflot's public relations department said. However, on January 29 the airport of Vladikavkaz was closed due to the weather, and the pilgrims departed from Minerlanye Vody /the Stavropol territory/.
Thus, more than 5,500 Russia's Muslims have a possibility to fulfill one of the five commandments. Each Muslim should participate in the Holy Hajj at least once.
After the pilgrimage, Aeroflot will take Muslims back to Russia on February 11, 2004.