Thai Airways to Fly Stranded Muslims to the Hajj

Thai Airways says it will arrange a special flight for Thai Muslims whose plans to attend the Hajj have been disrupted by the closure of Bangkok's two airports by protesters.

Thai Airways Executive Vice President Narongsak Sangapong says a flight with about 250 pilgrims will depart Friday afternoon from the Hat Yai airport in the country's restive south.

Other flights are planned to transport the pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, including hundreds who have been stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport since it was forced to close Tuesday after thousands of anti-government protesters stormed the complex.

Thai Muslim leaders have warned that a failure to assist the pilgrims for what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many could damage relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.