Trimming the number of hajj airlines to three and removal of uniform hajj fare will improve 2024 hajj operation, the Serve the Pilgrims Initiative (SPI), a not-for-profit organization, has said.
The CSO commended the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON)’s leadership under Mr Jalal Ahmad Arabi for taking that bold steps towards enhancing the Muslim hajj exercise.
SPI, in a statement by its Co-Chair Yakubu Musa Fagge, on Monday said the two bold steps taken by NAHCON would streamline the 2024 hajj operations by deepening efficiency and transparency in the hajj operation
Recently, Mr Arabi announced the selection of three airlines — Flynas, Max Air and Air Peace — as official hajj carriers for 2024 hajj.
It also said the hajj commission’s
approval of three airlines with verifiable capacity, unlike last year, where some of the airlines were even under AMCON receivership, would go along way in easing the airlift of pilgrims of the West African leading hajj country.
The CSO said, “this bold move will streamline the airlift of hajj pilgrims during the 2024 operations. The selection of many airlines without capacity almost truncated the 2023 hajj operation.”
The statement said the removal of uniform hajj fare for states would enable pilgrims get value for their money.
Mr Arabi during signing agreement with service providers, told Executive Secretaries and Chairmen of State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board (SMPWB) to take advantage of the service providers’ open market to negotiate cost effective services for their pilgrims.
The NAHCON boss said there will not be uniform hajj fare in 2024, saying the cheaper a state’s cost of accommodation and feeding, the cheaper the state’s hajj fare. He said the states are to plan their individual menus which would be used during negotiations.
SPI said this “new policy move would enable states to fix their hajj fare according to the strength of their economy. The quality of services, however, should not be compromised.”
The SPI also reiterated its earlier call on President Bola Tinubu for a special exchange rate for the pilgrims. The CSO had requested Mr Tinubu to give dollars to the pilgrims at the 2024 budget approved exchange rate of N800.