By Muhammad Muhammad
Intending pilgrims for this year’s pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia would pay the increase in hajj fare of $100 each as additional costs on flight tickets .
Besides, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and States Pilgrims’ Welfare Boards would also bear specific percentage of the shortfall on aviation cost.
The additional fare increase was occasioned by extra nautical miles air carriers would embark as alternative air route besides the Sudanese airspace.
The military authorities of Sudan has since shutdown the country’s airspace following the ongoing internal crisis ravaging the nation, a difficult condition that now compel airlines to fly the Kingdom of Saudi through six countries.
Unveiling the new development at a press briefing on Friday, Executive secretary, Kano state Pilgrims Welfare Board, Ambassador Mohammadu Abba Danbatta said the additional cost would be deducted from pilgrims’ Basic Traveling Allowance (BTA).
Danbatta explained that evaluation of crisis in Sudan and it’s attendant cost implication as well as other fresh charges by Saudi Government amounting to over $700 has generated huge concern to stakeholders.
According to the executive secretary, the extra cost that would have led to huge burden on intending pilgrims is however being subsidized by the Federal government, NAHCON and states pilgrims’ welfare boards.
” After series of meetings and consultation, the burden of increase in the Hajj fare has been drastically reduced to barest minimum. Already, the Federal government is taking the large chunk of the burden while NAHCON and states would take share just like the intending pilgrims would not be left out.
“After the Federal Govt and NAHCON takes certain share from the initial $250 difference, By calculation, a pilgrim is now expected to pay $117. But by the intervention, the cost is reduced. Pilgrim will now pay $100 while NAHCON and States board will still share the $17. And the addition would be deducted from pilgrim’s BTA. Now, instead of $800 pilgrims would be given $700″. Danbatta noted.
On the preparation of Kano airlift, Danbatta stressed that the first batch of 550 passengers would depart Nigeria for Saudi Arabia on 25th May, 2023, few hours after the inaugural flight. He said second and third batches would depart on 27th and 29th May on board Max air.
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