Hajj: 11,966 Nigerian pilgrims return in seven days

A Saudi designated air carrier, Flynas, has operated 22 flights from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria in the last seven days.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that so far 11,966 Nigerian pilgrims had been flown home in the last seven days, with Flynas accounting for 8,063 of them, leaving the remaining 3,903 to Max Air, Aero Contractors, Azman Air and Air Peace.

Flynas is operating the flights from Hajj Terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, to Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos; and the Sultan Abubakar International Airport, Sokoto.

Official data obtained from the Command and Control Centre of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Tuesday, revealed that the five approved hajj air carriers have operated a total of 30 flights so far.

Flynas has transported 5,523 pilgrims in 14 flights to Sokoto, and 3,075 pilgrims to Lagos Station in eight flights, according to the official data.

The Managing Director of First Planet Travels – the General Sales Agent (GSA) of Flynas in Nigeria, Alhaji Umar Kaila, in an interview with journalists in Jeddah, said the airline would conclude its inbound transportation of pilgrims ahead of schedule.

“Flynas is fully prepared to conclude its inbound transportation of pilgrims ahead of schedule. We are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that all our assigned pilgrims are transported back to Nigeria in maximum comfort and safety,” he said.

Kaila said as witnessed during the outbound movement, the priority of the airline was the safe and comfortable transportation of its esteemed passengers on schedule.

“Like we did during the phase one operation, we have operated 24 flights so far on schedule without any delay or cancellation.”

The statistics have shown that Air Peace and Aero Contractors have operated one flight each, while Max Air has operated four flights and Azman Air two flights since the beginning of the return journey on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

Flynas has so far transported pilgrims from Sokoto, Lagos, Zamfara, Osun, Ogun, Kebbi, Borno states using the two operational centres in Lagos and Sokoto states.

NAHCON allocated 29,296 pilgrims to Flynas, 16,326 to Max Air, 11,348 to Air Peace, 8,660 to Azman Air, and 7,833 to Aero Contractors.

With over 80 Nigerian adhoc staff on its payroll, Flynas has been in Nigeria since 2014 as part of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.


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