Worried by the slow pace of the in-bound flight of Nigerian pilgrims from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria after the just concluded Hajj exercise, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has secured more slots for Nigerian Airlines to fast-track the movement of Nigerian pilgrims back home.
With this impreasive development, all Nigerian licensed carriers would, from tomorrow Wednesday (July 12, 2023), begin to operate their in-bound flight to Nigeria optimally.
This was contained in a statement signed bybthe NAHCON Deputy Director, Information and Publications, Alhaji Mousa Ubandawaki, saying that the development was a product of the crucial meeting between NAHCON and the Saudi authorities, General Authority on civil Aviation (GACA) on the slow pace of the airlift operation.
Acvording to the statement, Max Airline with three aircrafts on its fleet will be able to operate all the aircraft to Nigeria everyday, the same with Aero Contractors, Air peace, Azman and Arik Air which is dedicated to the airlift of private tour operators.
“The new development is expected to ease the strain on the agitation of Nigerian pilgrims who have been anxious to return to Nigeria since the conclusion of the Hajj rites on the 30th june.
“It will also increase the pace of the airlift operation which have been bogged down by non-availability of slots to the Nigerian licensed carriers especially by the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority” the statement added.
The statement pointed out that NAHCON had been battling with the situation since the commencement of the second phase of the airlift operation, and expressed joy that the resolution of the meeting had put an end to that ugly development.
“The GACA have refused to allot slots to the Nigerian airlines to speed up the return of pilgrims back home.
“Several representation, meetings were held.
“The intervention of the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Amb.Dauda Yahaya Lawal achieved little success until the issue was escalated to the highest level of Government before the situation was finally resolved.
“Thus far, only 26 flights have recorded on the in-bound airlift operation with the highest shuttle operated by the Saudi- owned Flynas which operated more than 2/3 of the flights” the stahement added.