Two weeks into the commencement of the In-bound airlift into Nigeria, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has airlifted over 42, 256 of the 73,000 pilgrims to Nigeria in 109 shuttles. The second phase operation which began on the 4th of July, 2023 with the airlift of 387 Sokoto pilgrims by Flynas after the completion of the symbolic stoning of the Jamrats.
The operation which was initially bedeviled by non-provision of slots to many of the Airlines except the Flynas which enjoyed considerable “home advantage” from the General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) but it later picked up with the intervention of NAHCON Boss, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan and the highest Authority in Nigeria to resolve the logjam. Since then, the airlift has been progressing smoothly and steadily.
Meanwhile, the NAHCON Chairman has commended the Saudi Authorities and the Airlines for their tenacity and commitment to ensuring that the operation was conducted smoothly and successfully. He urged everyone to sustain the tempo so that the operation can be concluded in record time.
“With the pace at which we are going, hopefully, we would accomplish the airlift on our target date. I therefore urge the pilgrims, officials and the Airlines to sustain the tempo and to continue comply with the rules and regulations guiding the operations, so that we can successfully achieve the objectives and obtain Hajj Mabrur”.
The Commission has fixed August 3rd as the target date for the completion of the in-bound flight to Nigeria by the Airlines – Max Air, Flynas, Aero Contractors, Air Peace and Azman- the officially designated carriers for the 2023 Hajj airlifts.
Recall that the out-bound operation spanned a month with the inaugural flight held on 25th May 2023 at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja with the airlift of Nassarawa State Pilgrims and concluded on 24th June with the airlift of Niger State pilgrims and remainders of pilgrims from Kaduna and Kebbi States.
In a related development, the second phase of the Visit to Madina by less than 2000 Nigerian pilgrims who could not do so had commenced with the visitation by 365 (Batch 5) of Borno State pilgrims who were conveyed to the second Holiest city yesterday.
The Commission has successfully achieved the feat of ensuring that over 98 percent of Nigerian pilgrims visited Madina in the first phase of the operation which marked the first time in the Commission’s history.
Deputy Director, information & Publications Division