The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) and the four Nigerian Airlines approved for the airlift of pilgrims to the 2023 Hajj finally agreed on terms with the signing of the 2023 Hajj Airlift Agreement between the two parties. The event which took place in the Boardroom of the Hajj House today was attended by the Chief Executives of the four Hajj Air Carriers.
In his remarks, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan praised the patriotic zeal of the Airlines for their sacrifices in the face of the challenge posed by the Sudan crisis. “We are not unmindful of the challenge posed by the closure of the Sudan airspace to your Hajj operation; however, I wish to appeal to your conscience and sense of patriotism not to further burden the pilgrim with additional costs or changes”.
In their separate speeches, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi said that the Airlines were not unmindful of the plight of pilgrims who have earlier paid their Hajj fare before the crises broke out, but we are constrained to take that decision because of logistic and operational need. We won’t like anything that will disrupt our operation halfway”.
In the same vein, the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyeama said that their call for the review of the Airlift Agreement with NAHCON was not to exploit the Sudan crises for business gains or opportunities. “We care for the Nigerian pilgrims many of who we know to have made personal sacrifices in paying for Hajj. We are also mindful of the fact that the pilgrims had already paid before this crisis broke out. We don’t want to deprive them of this opportunity to make the journey to the Holy land. We are doing it for national pride”.
The formal signing of the Agreement with the four local Airlines- Air Peace, Azman Air Services, Aero Contractor and Max Airline laid to rest the disagreement between the Commission and the approved 2023 Hajj Carriers. It also represents remarkable progress in the march towards the commencement of airlift to Hajj 2023which will officially kick off on May 21st with the airlift of the Advance Team from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
It would be recalled that only the Saudi carrier, Flynas signed the 2023 Airlift Agreement with the Commission last Tuesday, 2nd May, 2023 while the representatives of the four others refused to sign citing the Sudan Crises and the need to consult with their Chief Executives as reasons.
Deputy Director, Information & Publications