The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, on Wednesday, commenced a three-day screening exercise for the air careers/cargos companies that would be engaged in the 2020 Hajj operations.
Declaring the exercise open in Abuja, the NAHCON chairman, Zikrullah Hassan, stated that the commission was working towards allocating 75% of the slots to indigenous companies.
The chairman noted that the screening would be conducted on three categories of applications: intending pilgrims’ airlifting, excess luggage airlifting and airlifting of pilgrims under Tour Operators.
According to him, in the category of pilgrims’ airlifting, five indigenous and two Saudi-based airlines have applied.
Mr Hassan named the airlines as Azman Air Services, Arik Air Limited, Max Air Limited, Med-view Airline, SkyPower Airways, Saudi-based Fly-Nas and Skyprime.
On the second category, he said four airlines had applied for airlifting of pilgrims’ excess luggage while the third had two applications for the airlifting of tour operators.
In the second category, he said there are Cargo Zeal Technologies Ltd, Esteem Cargo and Tours Nig. Ltd, Sokodeke Global Marine Services and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company.
In the third category are Azman Air Services and West-Link Airline Limited.
The NAHCON chairman, while assuring the commission’s effort to making the 2020 Hajj more affordable, said the commission had negotiated with service providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the reduction in fares.
He, therefore, urged the applicant airlines to reduce the prices of their air tickets.
Mr Hassan also appealed to members of the board to support the commission’s move to reduce the number of days to be spent in the kingdom.
In his remarks, the chairman, Senate committee on foreign affairs, Mohammed Bulkachuwa, represented by Senator Hassan Gusau, called on the board members to use their experience in order to achieve a hitch-free exercise.
Representing the Chairman Committee on pilgrim’s affairs, Kabir Idris assured the committee of the government’s effort to allow more indigenous airlines to participate in the operation.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the airlines screening is headed by the NAHCON commissioner of operations, Abdullahi Hardawa, under a committee constituted by the NAHCON, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
Others include Nigerian Customs Service, Accident Investigation Bureau, Representatives of state pilgrims’ board, tour operators, among others.