Hajj: Kano rejects airline for pilgrims’ airlift
Confusion has continued to trail the approval of airlines for the 2022 hajj operations, as some states rejected the selection of a particular airline to convey their pilgrims to the holy land.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) approved three airline operators to airlift about 43,000 intending pilgrims for the ritual in Saudi Arabia.
The rejected airline was entrusted with the conveyance of pilgrims from 16 states and the armed forces. The states include Kano, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Ogun, Ondo, Rivers and Yobe.
However, The Guardian gathered that the controversial airline was unable to commence operation across its designated states, five days after the commencement of the airlift of pilgrims by other airlines, largely due to outright rejection.
Executive secretary, Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mohammad Danbatta, who confirmed that Kano is part of the states that rejected the airline, insisted the airline lacked the operational capacity to embark on the exercise.
The Kano hajj boss also accused NAHCON of imposing the airline on states, against the tradition of the institution for the conveyance of intending pilgrims to the holy land.
According to him, the airline does not possess the capacity considering its record of failure and disappointment, citing the inability of the airline to launch its first batch of airlifts from Kaduna.
Vowing to turn down NAHCON’s designation of the airline for Kano pilgrims, Danbatta insisted the state would only settle for Max Air for the airlift of 2,224 pilgrims scheduled to commence on June 19.
However, Assistant Director, Public Affairs at NAHCON, Fatima Usara, denied knowledge of any rejection of the airline.