In a significant decision, President Bola Tinubu has provided his endorsement to three airlines to hold the exclusive responsibility of transporting pilgrims for the Hajj pilgrimage in 2024. These airlines, namely Air Peace Ltd., FlyNas, and Max Air, have been granted this prestigious opportunity, as shown in reports. In a statement released on January 5, 2024, Mrs. Fatima Sanda-Usara from the Public Affairs division of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) announced this development in the capital city, Abuja.
Furthermore, Sanda-Usara made it known that three additional air cargo corporations were given the green light by the Tinubu-led Federal Government to transport the extra baggage of pilgrims via air freight. As per her account, Cargo Zeal Technologies Ltd., Nahco Aviance, and Qualla Investment Ltd. are the three air shipments granted approval by the federal government. In relation to Nigerian intending pilgrims, she mentioned that the approval serves as a validation of the Federal Government’s unwavering dedication to guaranteeing a pilgrimage journey that is both smooth and free from any security concerns.
Distribution of pilgrims from different states among the approved airlines.
As a result, the Federal Government has also given its approval for the distribution of pilgrims from different states among the approved airlines. Here is the breakdown of the allocation: Air Peace has been tasked with the responsibility of ferrying individuals who plan to embark on their pilgrimage from various regions including Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kwara, Ondo, Rivers states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
FlyNas has been mandated to make arrangements to cater to the needs of aspiring pilgrims from Borno, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe, and Zamfara states, offering them convenient transportation services. Max Air will be responsible for handling the transportation of pilgrims from multiple states including Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Oyo, Taraba, Kaduna, Armed Forces, Gombe, Jigawa, and Plateau. Max Air has been allocated the highest responsibility in this regard, compared to the others.
Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
According to her explanation, the distribution of pilgrims among the airlines conforms to the existing agreement known as the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. This agreement specifically focuses on the transportation of pilgrims who are part of the government quota. On the other hand, it is within the jurisdiction of state governments to assign any of the authorized freight companies for the transportation of supplementary baggage belonging to their pilgrims.
Hence, in the event that any state decides to engage in such a singular agreement, it is imperative that NAHCON is promptly informed of this decision. Malam Jalal Arabi, the Chairman of NAHCON, extended his felicitations to the airlines that were approved, commending their selection. He urged them to prepare themselves adequately to ensure an effortless pilgrimage experience in the upcoming 2024 season. The dedication of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to this course was further emphasized.
NAHCON’s commitment lies in maintaining the utmost level of excellence.
Additionally, in regard to pilgrimage management, she emphasized that NAHCON’s unwavering commitment lies in maintaining the utmost level of excellence. Their utmost priority is to ensure the safety and contentment of all pilgrims in every aspect. Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is scheduled to take charge of a delegation representing the NAHCON. They will participate in the formalization of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the upcoming 2024 hajj. This significant event was set to occur on January 7, 2024, as disclosed by Sanda-Usara.