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Hajj: Smooth operations excite NAHCON as Nasarawa concludes airlift

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National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON has expressed delight at the smooth flight operations by various airlines conveying Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for this year’s holy pilgrimage.

The commission particularly informed that Nasarawa State was the first to conclude airlift of its pilgrims totaling 1,794 for the 2024 Hajj season while Oyo State and the Armed Forces were expected to conclude conveyance of their pilgrims on Tuesday night with one leg each remaining.

In a statement on the update of the airlift, the NAHCON’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Hajia Fatima Sanda Usara, said there had not been any flight cancellation, except a delay that resulted in a time shift for the inaugural flight by pilgrims from Kwara State.

“By the end of 20th May, 2024 being Day 6 of 2024 airlift, FlyNas has transported 4,665 pilgrims followed by Max Air with 4,479. Air Peace has so far conveyed 1,531 pilgrims within the six days of operations making a combined total of 10,675 pilgrims that have been flown to the Kingdom as at 20th of May.

“Thus far, no flight cancellation has been recorded except for a flight delay that resulted in a time shift that affected the Kwara inaugural flight; moving it from yesterday 20th May, 2024 to early hours of today, Tuesday 21st May.

“Delightedly, Nasarawa State is the first to conclude airlift of its pilgrims totaling 1,794 for the 2024 Hajj season. Oyo and Armed forces are expected to conclude conveyance of their pilgrims tonight with one leg each remaining.

“As we approach the second week of inbound flights into Saudi Arabia, states that are about to commence airlifting of their pilgrims include Kaduna, Yobe, Kano, Adamawa, Borno, and Sokoto States. Plateau State pilgrims are slated to depart today (Tuesday) as well,” she stated.

The spokesperson, however, advised the pilgrims to be calm and to take note that the NAHCON has a policy of First-in-First-Out, FIFO, meaning that return from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria will follow the same sequence of departure from Nigeria, stressing that all pilgrims are expected to spend same estimated number of days in the Kingdom according to their time of conveyance.

In another development, Usara informed that the initial challenge in the issuance of Basic Travel allowance, BTA to pilgrims has been resolved, saying each one of them is now entitled to 500 Dollars cash as approved by NAHCON in place of a credit card.

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