The Federal Government has granted approval to three airlines to serve as exclusive carriers for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
The carriers, selected after thorough screening exercise, are Saudi Arabia-based FlyNass, Kano-based Max air and Lagos-based Air Peace Ltd.
A statement by an Assistant Director at National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Fatima Usara , said the Federal Government concurrently approved allocation of pilgrims from various states, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as Armed Forces passengers to each of the approved airlines.
Max Air, which has the highest allocation, is responsible for the conveyance of pilgrims from Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Oyo, Taraba, Kaduna, Armed Forces, Gombe, Jigawa and Plateau states.
Similarly, Air Peace is scheduled to transport intending pilgrims from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kwara, Ondo and Rivers states.
FlyNas will airlift Muslim pilgrims from Borno, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe and Zamfara.
The Federal Government has also approved three air cargo companies to airfreight pilgrims’ excess luggage. They are Cargo Zeal Technologies Ltd, Nahco Aviance and Qualla Investment Limited.
In another development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, is billed to lead a delegation from NAHCON to partake in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage today.
Usara continued: “The approval reinforces government’s commitment to ensuring a seamless and secure pilgrimage experience for Nigerian intending pilgrims.”
She reaffirmed that the allocation of pilgrims to the airlines was in line with the subsisting Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia on airlift of pilgrims under government quota.
However, NAHCON notified that state governments might choose to designate any of the approved freight companies to convey their pilgrims’ excess luggage. NAHCON therefore urged the states to official communicate resolutions to the commission accordingly, should any state enter exclusive arrangement with any of the cargo company.
Meanwhile, NAHCON Chairman, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi congratulated the approved airlines on their selection and called on them to gear up to facilitating smooth pilgrimage in 2024 season.
He urged them to remain dedicated and upholding the highest standards in pilgrimage organization, with a focus on the safety and satisfaction of pilgrims.