The Executive Secretary, Gombe State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Sa’adu Adamu, on Thursday, said 2,556 intending pilgrims would be airlifted to Saudi Arabia from Gombe through Air Peace Airlines this year.
Ms Adamu told newsmen in Gombe that the first batch were expected to leave on June 3, and would be in about nine batches because the Aircraft is small.
According to him, the board had chosen the airline because it was confirmed to be new while hoping that the process of transporting the intending pilgrims will be completed within nine days.
He said following the ongoing reconstruction in Saudi Arabia, the accommodation used for previous pilgrimages had been changed to other buildings, but within the location.
Ms Adamu said the board had decided to maintain the area because the state was used to the environment and hence the efforts made to secure the accommodation for the intending pilgrims.
On the issue of fees increment of 250 dollars per pilgrim, the executive secretary explained that the Federal Government had intervened to subsidise with 150 dollars per pilgrim.
He added that the State Government had also weighed in to reduce from the intending pilgrims Duty Tour Allowances, BTA, of 800 dollars to lessen the burden on them.
He said the increment became necessary because of the extra fuel the airlines would burn to go round Sudan, where the conflict in the country could not allow planes to fly above it.