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Global - May 24, 2023

Hajj: Stakeholders laud Flynas’ timely airlift of Nigerian pilgrims for 9 years 


Stakeholders in the hajj industry have commended a Saudi Arabian-designated airline, Flynas, for sustaining an effective service delivery in the last nine years of its operations in the country.


They said the airline has reshaped the hajj industry by providing flawless services to the hajj pilgrims in Nigeria.

Flynas, a Saudi kingdom- designated airline, has been in Nigeria since 2014 as part of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to airlift between 40- 50 percent of Nigerian pilgrims for hajj.

For 2023 hajj, Flynas has been allocated pilgrims from Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Niger, Borno, Yobe, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

A pilgrim from Osun state, who identified himself as Alhaji Kamaru, told this newspaper that since “Flynas started operations in Nigeria in 2014, it carved a niche for itself in timely airlift of all its allocated pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and back.

“The humiliating culture of leaving pilgrims behind in Nigeria, or leaving them stranded for days at Jeddah or Madinah airports is now history with Flynas’s entry into the Nigerian hajj operation.”

Another pilgrim from Borno State, Hajiya Fanna Modu, said the “seamless nature of Flynas operations is not only unprecedented but commendable. They have redefined the art of pilgrims’ airlift in Nigeria.”

A pilgrim official who spoke in confidence said “Flynas entry into the Nigerian hajj airlift ecosystem has burnished the bartered image of Nigeria in Saudi Arabia and beyond.”

He said since their debut in 2014, “the embarrassing protests by stranded Nigerian pilgrims in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia has ended. This was done by Flynas by airlifting its pilgrims on schedule and even providing rescue to other airlines who have failed to airlift their pilgrims.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director of the General Sales Agent (GSA) handling Flynas in Nigeria, Alhaji Umar Kaila, said the airline, though based here on BASA, is contributing tremendously in the development of the industry.

He said the airline employs over 60 Nigerians as adhoc staff every year during hajj operations in the last nine years.

Mr Kaila said despite the competitive nature of the industry, Flynas secured slots from Saudi’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), as well as bank guarantees for Nigerian air carriers in Saudi Arabia.

“We are always handy to provide rescue operations when the local airlines face technical glitch – all in our efforts to ensure Nigeria records a seamless and successful hajj,” he said.

He said it was on records that Flynas pilgrims don’t stay long on arrival or departure at the Jeddah or Madinah airports. “We have the shortest stay at the airports. Whenever our pilgrims will have to stay up to eight hours, we take them to conducive hotels,” he said.

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) said the inaugural flight of Nigerian pilgrims will begin on May 26 in Abuja with Nasarawa state pilgrims.


SOURCE: 21ST Century Chronicle

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