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GACA President visits Nigeria in preparation for 2023 Hajj

By Shakirah Adunola
09 December 2022   |   5:23 am
Towards ensuring hitch-free hajj in 2023, the Chairman National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, has requested information on the scope of operations that the Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) covers under GACA guidelines. The clarification was sought in view of the problem encountered in the 2022 Hajj, where NAHCON had requested its…

Towards ensuring hitch-free hajj in 2023, the Chairman National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, has requested information on the scope of operations that the Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) covers under GACA guidelines.

The clarification was sought in view of the problem encountered in the 2022 Hajj, where NAHCON had requested its APG be used to allow Azman Air to commence airlift before the airline’s own APG was approved.

It recall that Azman Air lost 11 days of operations due to a delay in its APG being credited to its IBAN account.

In a statement, the spokesperson of the commission, Fatima Sanda Usara, said the Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika December 5, 2022, announced that Hajj and Umrah operations would be streamlined under strict regulations to make the airlines stronger as well as to protect Nigerians plying that route from experiencing difficulties.

He made this known in a meeting with a delegation from the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), led by its President, Abdulaziz A. Duailej. The delegation is in Abuja to share concerns and proffer solutions to perceived lapses from both sides. Other aviation stakeholders and NAHCON were also present.

Capt. Sirika called for a review of the 50/50 Hajj passenger-sharing formula between Saudi Arabia-owned airlines and those of other Hajj participating countries. He requested the GACA President to consider Nigeria’s peculiarities in this regard. According to him, a successful partnership depends on negotiations, compromise and seeking for mutual support and understanding.
The Chairman requested GACA to make known early enough, which Saudi-based airline would be deployed for the Hajj operations.

Other requests forwarded by the NAHCON Chairman include, the forwarding of information on Saudi-recognised private charter flights to NAHCON to enable the Commission to monitor their activities. Similarly, the NAHCON head requested that security identity cards for Commission’s staff posted to the airports for Hajj operations be made readily available.

Hassan explained that by the middle of December, the Commission is slated to begin aviation-related activities in preparation for the 2023 Hajj.

The GACA President, Duailej, disclosed that his presence in the country is part of the 2023 Hajj preparations process to ensure hitch-free operations.

He recognised the importance of early planning to avoid hitches, due to which his industry and the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah have concluded plans to make known all modalities for the 2023 pilgrimage season ahead of time to give participating countries a grace of at least five months for prearrangements. He expressed hope that Hajj air carriers will remain operational throughout the year and not just during Hajj.

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