Nigeria to commence airlifting for 2022 Hajj Pilgrimage, fixes June 9 as date




..NAHCON urges airline operators to treat intended pilgrims as VIPs

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Friday announced that the first batch of Nigerian pilgrimages to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the 2022 hajj exercises will begin on June 9.

The NAHCON chairman Zikirullah Hassan said this at the signing of the 2022 hajj airlift agreement by shorlisted 2022 hajj air carriers in Abuja.

The three airlines selected for the exercise, announced by the commission are Azman Air, Max Air and Flynas Airlines, a Saudi Arabian based airline.

Mr Hassan further revealed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved a total number of 43,008 allocations for Nigerian pilgrimages for the Hajj exercise in 2022.

In his remarks, Mr Hassan congratulated the successful airlines. He urged them to offer all pilgrims the VIP treatment that they deserve in the course of the exercise.

He referred to the contract signing as the start of Hajj activities, stating that exercise cannot take place without air transportation from Nigeria.

The NAHCON chairman, speaking about how the partnership with the new airline will address the issues of passenger transport, Mr Hassan said the partnership is based on a careful selection of the three airlines.

He said the commission is confident, based on the airlines’ assurances, that the upcoming Hajj operation will benefit not only the commission but all Nigerians.

“We are convinced based on the assurance of the airlines, this year Hajj operation would be indeed the one that would be of benefit to both the pilgrims and as well as the Hajj managers at the Hajj commission and the states as well.

“The total number of allocations we had from Saudi Arabia is 43,008. But believe me, if we had been given a higher amount it would not have been enough.

“This is because many pilgrims have been yearning to participate in the pilgrimage over the last two years.

“But I can assure you that our challenges are not how to fill in the slots we were given, but how to genuinely persuade some people that no matter what happens they would have to wait till next year.

“The airlift of pilgrims would hopefully, begin on the 9th of June and the Hajj fare would be announced on Saturday, as well announce the total packages for the exercise.

Speaking on Covid-19 testing, the NAHCON chairman explained that the commission is working on covid-19 testing with the presidential task force.

He said the commission would oversee the testing at a number of Hajj camps across the country.

He stated that the testing would take place within 32 days before the pilgrims’ departure for the Hajj exercise.

Nigerian Newssphere gathered that due to the covid-19 outbreak, Saudi Arabia’s government had in May 2020 limited participation in Hajji exercises for international pilgrimages to just its citizens.

Earlier, the NAHCON Commissioner of Operations, Abdullahi Hardawa, described the gathering as a delightful moment after nearly three years without Hajj as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

He said the successful air carriers were selected after rigorous assessment among many airlines that applied.

He, therefore, urged the airlines to be diligent, and responsive in ensuring the welfare of the Hajj pilgrimage.

“For almost three years we (NAHCON) have not had the privileged to have a gathering gladly surprising by the covid pandemic which affected all spaces of life globally.

“The aftermath was the cancellation of the Hajj for two consecutive years for international pilgrimages. Alihamdulliahi we are alive this significant event for Hajji preparation in Nigeria

“We are indeed blessed to witness the airlift agreement with a successful airline that participated in a very rigorous and diligent session at the end of which they emerged successfully.

“It is my pleasure that on behalf of the chairman and staff of the commission I humbly congratulate the successful carriers”, he stated.