The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says it will begin the transportation of the 2023 Nigerian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 21. 2023.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan, disclosed this at the opening of application forms as well as the inauguration of Aviation Monitoring and Airline Screening Committees, held at Hajj House on Wednesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 airlines applied to transport Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 hajj, while three cargo airlines applied to transport luggage of the pilgrims back to Nigeria.
The airlines that signified interest were: Aero Contractors, Air Peace, Arik Air, Flynas, Azman Air, Max air, Sky power, United Nigeria Airlines, while the three cargo airlines are: Cargo zeal, Cargo Solo Deke Global Travels, and one other.
The NAHCON boss urged the screening committee to work round the clock to submit its report by March 7, for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.
He also charged the committee to ensure that all technical issues regarding airport and aircraft were resolved on time.
Similarly, Hassan advised all intending pilgrims to complete their registration with various State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Boards, Agencies and Commissions or through the Hajj Savings Scheme on time.
According to him, the registration for 2023 hajj will be closed in due course in order to meet up with the deadline fixed by the Saudi Arabian Government.
Hassan said: “The terms and references of the Aviation Monitoring Committee include constituting a subcommittee to review all documents submitted by the applicant-airlines and cargo carriers.”
Earlier, Alhaji Abdullahi Hardawa, the Chairman of the screening committee and NAHCON Commissioner of Operations, expressed its commitment to work assiduously towards ensuring a successful 2023 Hajj operation.
Also, Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, urged the members of the screening committee to justify the confidence reposed on them.
He said: “In my capacity as the Chairman, Senate on Foreign Affairs, we always monitor hajj operations closely. If airlines perform well, the rest of hajj operations will be successful.
“I urge you to put your heads together and make sure that the airport you are going to operate from is very much in order. Make early arrangements to do what is right to avoid flight delays or cancellations.” (NAN)