Hajj 2023: Don’t exploit pilgrims, NAHCON warns Nigerian airlines

2023 Hajj: Don’t exploit pilgrims, NAHCON warns Nigerian airlines

The Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, has appealed to the Nigeria Airlines not to allow the 2023 pilgrims incur additional expenses due to the challenge posed by the closure of Sudan airspace for operation.

He made the appealed while the NAHCON and four Nigeria Airlines approved for the airlift of Nigerian pilgrims to the Holy Land signed agreements on the 2023 Hajj Airlift at Hajj House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Hassan commended the doggedness of the Nigerian Airlines for their sacrifices despite the challenge posed by the Sudan crisis to the 2023 hajj airlift operation.

“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,” Hassan pleaded.

The formal signing of the agreement with the four local airlines- Air Peace, Azman Air Services, Aero Contractor and Max Airline has settled the dispute between the commission and the approved 2023 Hajj Carriers.

It also boosted the confidence of both parties in the march towards the commencement of airlift to Hajj 2023 which will officially kick off on May 21 with the airlift of the Advance Team from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

At the signing of the agreement, the chief executives of the four airline organisations who were present at the signing of MoU explained that the call for the review of the airlift agreement with NAHCON was not to take advantage of the Sudan crises to  maximised profits.

The Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt. Ado Sanusi, maintained that the Airlines were aware of Nigerian pilgrims who had paid their Hajj fare before the crisis in Sudan broke out were passing through but they were forced to take the decision because of logistic and operational need.

Also speaking, the chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyeama, said, “We care for the Nigerian pilgrims, many of whom we know 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.”

Recall that only the Saudi carrier, Flynas, approved for the airlift of 2023 Hajj, signed the 2023 Airlift Agreement with the Commission on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 while the representatives of the four others refused to sign citing the Sudan Crises and the need to consult with their chief executives.