The federal government of Nigeria has designated three airlines as sole carriers of Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage, in an effort to help this year’s Hajj activities run smoothly.
According to Arise News, Air Peace Limited, FlyNas, and Max Air are among the carriers affected.
A statement issued at the weekend by the Assistant Director in Charge of Public Affairs at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Fatima Sanda Usara, stated that the approval would improve the efficient and effective movement of pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this year’s hajj exercise.
The statement, which was made accessible to journalists in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, went on to say: “The commission also approved the three other air cargo companies that will airfreight pilgrims’ excess luggage and that include: Cargo Zeal Technologies Limited, Nahco Aviance and Qualla Investment Limited”.
“The approval reinforces the government’s commitment to ensuring a seamless and secure pilgrimage experience for Nigeria’s intending pilgrims,” according to the statement.
“Consequently, the federal government concurrently approved the allocation of pilgrims from various states to each of the approved airlines.
“Those states approved for the affected three airlines are as follows: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, FCT, Imo, Kwara, Ondo, and Rivers,” the statement stated.
“FlyNas will transport Muslim pilgrims from Borno, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, and Zamfara, while Max Air will transport pilgrims from Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Oyo, Taraba, Kaduna, Armed Forces, Gombe, Jigawa and Plateau states.”
“The allocation of pilgrims to the airlines was in line with the subsisting Bilateral Air Service Agreement between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia on airlift of pilgrims under government quota.
“However, state governments may choose to designate any of the approved goods companies to transport their pilgrims’ excess luggage,” the statement continued.
“Should any state enter such an exclusive arrangement, the decision should be communicated to the commission accordingly,” the statement went on to say.
While praising the three certified airlines for this year’s hajj operations, NAHCON stated that it would continue to keep the highest standards in pilgrimage organization, with an emphasis on pilgrim safety and happiness.