Hajj 2023: NAHCON Inaugurates Aviation Committees

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The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has inaugurated two committees that will handle Aviation matters during the for the coming Hajj 2023 operations. The two committees are the Airlines screening committee and Aviation monitoring committee.



The committees, which were chaired by the Commissioner in charge of operations at NAHCON, Alhaji Magaji Hardawa and the commission’s head of Aviation, Engr. Mohammed Goni respectively, were inaugurated at Hajj House Abuja on Wednesday by the chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Zikirullah Kunle Hassan.



Alhaji Zikirullah Kunle Hassan, while giving a brief remark ahead the inauguration stated that it is the responsibility of NAHCON to chose Air carriers for pilgrims traveling from the states as well as for tour operators who decides to use chatter services.


“By our plan, the inaugural flight will take place on May 21 this year, which is 81 days away, so the screening committee should work day and night and have a report ready for transition to Mr President for Approval by March 7,” the chairman said.



Alhaji Hassan admonished the two committees to ensure that all issues regarding the choice of Airlines, Aircrafts and Airports to be used are done in good time.



He also called on all Nigerians wishing to travel for this year’s Hajj to finalise payment of their deposits on or before March 7, because registration will soon close.



Speaking earlier, the commissioner in charge of operations, Alhaji Hardawa stated that this is the first time that the current NAHCON board is undertaking a bid application opening  exercise because there was no Hajj in 2019 and 2020 due to the advent of Corona Virus and there was also no time to do it ahead Hajj 2022.



“Airlift is an important component of Hajj operations, if we fail to get it right, chances are higher that it will impact negatively on the entire Hajj operations,” he said.



He stated that the Air Carriers screening committee will ensure that only those Airlines who meet the requirements put in place are considered for ferrying Nigerian pilgrims.



Also speaking, the chairman Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa said the success or otherwise of any Hajj operation is determined by how well Airlines perform their responsibilities. “I urge you to put your act together to make sure that not just the Airlines, but even the Airports to be used are in order,” he said.



The Senator said he noticed that the Aviation Committees now have new faces with more professionals on board. He called on the committees to “always act swiftly on all complaints before it is too late “even as he called on NAHCON to make sure all selected Airlines are paid in time. “Make sure payments are ready, don’t end up blaming the CBN or whatever”.



On his part, the chairman, House committee on Pilgrims Affairs, Hon Abubakar Nalaraba admonished the screening committee to “adhere strictly to the rules of engagement” in selecting Airlines. “Pick only those that have Aircrafts on the ground and ready for inspection. Avoid mushroom companies. If you have an Aircraft ready, you should be considered, otherwise you have no business here,” he said.



Alhaji Nalaraba said the experience of Hajj 2022 should not be allowed to be repeated saying “ Nigerian pilgrims suffered last year and the image of the country was dented”.


Also, the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Capt. Musa Nuhu, who is attending personally for the first time said he lead a team to Saudi Arabia recently and the authorities there were not happy with the Conduct of some Airlines during Hajj last year.



He pledged that his office will “work hard this year to ensure significant improvement in services”.



“All operators must meet requirements without exception. No more paper companies, Aircrafts must be sighted and inspected. “



The NCAA boss also said any infraction from any airline will be penalized

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