NAHCON: Airlines to begin airlift of pilgrims to Nigeria Wednesday | TheCable

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says all Nigerian licensed carriers would begin to operate their inbound flights and airlift pilgrims to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Mousa Ubandawaki, deputy director of information and publications at NAHCON, announced the development in a statement on Tuesday.

Ubandawaki said the arrangement is expected to ease the agitation by some of the pilgrims who have been anxious to return home after the conclusion of Hajj on June 30.

He said the delay in airlifting pilgrims back home was due to the limited slots given to the airlines by Saudi authorities, adding that only 26 flights were recorded on the inbound airlift operation.


“Beginning from tomorrow Wednesday, 12th July, 2023 all the Nigerian licensed carriers would begin to operate their inbound flight to Nigeria optimally,” the statement reads.

“This was the outcome of the high-level meeting between the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the Saudi authorities, General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) on the slow pace of the airlift operation.

“With the situation, Max Airline with three aircraft in its fleet will be able to operate all the aircraft to Nigeria everyday, the same with Aero Contractors, Air peace, Azman and Arik Air which is dedicated to the airlift of private tour operators.


“The new development is expected to ease the strain on the agitation of Nigerian pilgrims who have been anxious to return to Nigeria since the conclusion of the Hajj rites on the 30th of June.

“It will also increase the pace of the airlift operation which has been bogged down by the non-availability of slots to the Nigerian licensed carriers, especially by the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority.

“The commission has been disturbed about the situation which solution she had been battling with since the commencement of the second phase of the airlift operation. The GACA has refused to allot slots to Nigerian airlines to speed up the return of pilgrims to the country.

“Several representation, meetings were held. The intervention of the Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Amb. Dauda Yahaya Lawal achieved little success until the issue was escalated to the highest level of government before the situation was finally resolved.”


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