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Airlines prepare to lift 72,524 pilgrims

Airlift of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj may begin on Friday with two airlines, Max Air and Kabo Airlines, transporting about 72,524.

The pilgrims are scheduled to depart from Kano, Lagos, Kaduna, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Abuja, Gombe, Yola and Minna.

In separate interviews with our correspondent in Kano on Tuesday, spokesmen for the two airlines assured that arrangements had been concluded to ensure a hitch-free exercise.

While the Public Relations Manager of Max Air, Ibrahim Dahiru, confirmed that the airline had been allocated 45,524 passengers for the trip, his Kabo Airline counterpart, Aminu Hamza, said 27,000 would board his company’s airbuses.

Dahiru said the pilgrims would be drawn from 17 states, with 100 flights during the Hajj operation.

He said the airline would operate from Lagos, Kaduna, Sokoto, Minna and Kano zones.

On his part, Hamza said his airline had reserved two aircraft, with one on standby to ensure a successful exercise.

He said the company was collaborating with the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.

He added that with the over 30 years of Hajj operations experience behind it, the pilgrims should be assured that no major challenges would be encountered by the airline.

He commended the Kano State Pilgrims Welfare Board for making changes, where intending pilgrims were airlifted through local government by local government operations.

According to him, such system had contributed immensely to delay encountered in the airlift operations in the past.

He applauded the new concept whereby any intending pilgrim, who is ready for the airlift, will be airlifted, assuring this would ensure a smooth exercise in this year’s operation.

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