Hajj Airlift: Mild Drama as NAHCON signed agreement with airlines

by admin

There was a mild drama at the Hajj House head office of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) when it appeared only one out of the three Airlines selected to transport Pilgrims to Hajj 2024 was ready to sign contractual agreement with the commission.

NAHCON had announced that the federal government had approved the selection of Max Air, Air Peace and Fly Nas as the airlines to transport pilgrims to this year’s Hajj exercise.

After a long wait, the commission finally invited the airlines to formally sign contractual agreements signaling the commencement of their operations.

However, only Max Air said it was ready to sign the agreement. Air Peace said it will need more time to clarify some issues within the documents. 

The Chairman of NAHCON, Jalal Ahmad Arabi expressed displeasure over the inability of Air Peace to be ready to sign even after receiving draft copy since on Tuesday.

On their part, Fly Nas sent apologies to say they could not make it to the event because they missed their flight.

Arabi subsequently invited Max Air to sign and promised to “take up the issues around Air Peace” with the chairman of the Airline.

However, the team from Air Peace, said they have been able to rectify the issue and was ready to also sign the contract.

A lot is expected

Earlier, Mallam Arabi in his remarks told the airlines that a lot is expected from them.

He described the airlines as one of the most important stakeholders in Hajj operations.

“It will be an understatement to outline the importance of Air carriers. You know the much that is expected of us jointly

Expectations are there for a successful outing. You did it in the past, nothing should stop you from doing it again,” he said.

The NAHCON boss said both the commission and the airlines faced the challenges of this year’s Hajj together.

“We have gone through challenges together this year. As we were following up, so were you.

“I am confident that we wouldn’t fail. There are moments of anxiety, what we are about to do now, should have been done long time ago. Whatever it is, at least we are here today and we are going to do it 

“We will enter agreements, but everything will be based on trust,” he said  

Arabi said for the airlines, “It doesn’t stop at merely serving the Pilgrims, you also have a name to protect”. 

Speaking further, Arabi said “let us prove our worth, let us ensure we meet all standards. There are things that cannot be taken for granted. There must be special attention to security. If you do well, NAHCON will take the bullets on your behalf.

“So please don’t fail us, don’t put us to shame and do the best that you can”.

On his part, the commissioner in charge of operations at NAHCON, Elegushi said the agreement signing ceremony marks a significant milestone in efforts to ensure smooth operations.

He said it is only through collective efforts that high quality service can be provided to Pilgrims.

He expressed the view that the agreement being signed will pave the way for a successful and fulfilling pilgrimage to the people

Also, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Agency, NCAA Captain CHRIS ONA NAJOMO who was represented by the Director Aerodromes and Air space standards in a brief remark said the nation “cannot afford to do fire brigade operations to Hajj”. 

He said the agency had already commenced its work ahead of time “because Hajj operations is predictable”

“15 Aerodromes have been inspected and all issues have been communicated and are being addressed

“From their previous performance, the airlines are expected to do well and better. Safety and security is naturally an inherent thing that we do. Next is the welfare of the Pilgrims during airlift to and fro. We will ensure all regulatory functions are upheld,” he said.

He also states that all issues observed during Hajj 2023 were highlighted to NAHCON, airlines and GACA with a view to avoiding them.

He also advised NAHCON to fulfill all contractual agreements entered without which rooms for lapses is already being created and should be avoided

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