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April 24, 2024
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Hajj: Stakeholders commend Aero contractors for smooth transportation of pilgrims

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By Salisu Sani-Idris

Stakeholders in the Hajj Industry have commended the performance of the Aero Contractors on the outbound movement of pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia.

They made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Makkah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Executive Secretary, Nasarawa State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Alhaji Idris Al-Makura, said the airline performed very well to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

According to him, this is the first time an indigenous airline has come out to showcase its capacity.

“To be honest, at the beginning I was very skeptical about the issue because out of the blues we just heard about Aero Contractors which has not engaged in the transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia before.

“So I was very scared that maybe the airline might not be able to make it and we might have a disappointment at the end of the day, but as God will have it, I met with the Aero Contractor team including its Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Maifata.

“We held a meeting to discuss the modalities of the operation and we left everything in the hands of God and as God will have it, I’m very happy, not only myself but also all colleagues in Oyo, Adamawa, Taraba states and even the FCT and Kaduna state that were rescued by the airline. They are very happy.”

He said that initially, the National Hajj commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) allocated about 7,000 pilgrims to Aero Contractors but after being impressed with its performance, the commission increased the allocation to 11,600.

“By next year, if we are still in the system, we will recommend that 40 per cent of the total Nigerian pilgrims should be lifted by Aero contractors.”

Also, Alhaji Salihu Abubakar, the Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, applauded the airline for the professional and effective way it handled the transportation of Nigerian pilgrims.

“It is great working with the Aero Contractors team, which handled the transportation of our pilgrims with a professional and mature touch.

“We appreciate the Chairman and if we are given hundreds of choices, we shall choose Aero contractors again and again and again! We are proud of the Aero Contractors team.”

Responding, the Coordinating Officer of Aero Contractors for the 2023 hajj, Alhaji Liman Usman, said from the beginning, all the state pilgrims board allocated to the airline were not comfortable with the ability of the airline to discharge its duties effectively.

“We are first timers in the transportation of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Lots of people were not sure if we can deliver, people speculated that we will not make it at all but by the grace of God, were able to deliver successfully.”

According to him, initially, the airline was given about 7,200 pilgrims from Oyo, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba States but at the end of the day, we were able to transport additional 9,00 pilgrims from the FCT and another 9,000 pilgrims from Kaduna state.

“These are extra four flights from Kaduna and the FCT. FCT pilgrims were allocated to Air Peace and due to some reasons we were asked to come in and rescue its pilgrims.

“Azman airline was assigned to transport Kaduna state pilgrims but at the end of the day, we also recused some of the state pilgrims and at the same time, we added one flight from the National Assembly.

“For the last flight, we came with few travel agents and all our staff so in total, we transported 11,876 piwlgrims.”

He assured that the company would surpass its performance in the inbound movement of pilgrims back to Nigeria

“We have started making preparations toward that and by God’s grace we will achieve success.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vincent Obi

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