2016 Hajj: Saudi Arabia disqualifies 3 Nigerian air carriers

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), on Wednesday, said  the three carriers disqualified from transporting Nigerian pilgrims for the 2016 Hajj were those not cleared by the Saudi Arabian aviation authorities.

Alhaji Mohammadu Goni, Head of Aviation of NAHCON, made this known at the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja, while answering questions from newsmen.

He listed the affected airlines as Dornier Aviation Nigeria AEP Ltd; Top Brass and Azman Air Services.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Federal Government had approved six airline operators to transport intending pilgrims for the exercise.

Goni, however, said the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) cleared only three airlines out of the six nominated by the Federal Government.

He said the airlines approved by the Saudi authorities awere: Med-View Airlines Ltd.; Max Air Ltd. and Fly-Nas Air (Saudi Arabian designated carrier).

Goni explained that only these three airlines were designated to fly the route between the two countries.

He said that NAHCON had made concerted efforts to ensure that Saudi Arabian Government allowed the three disqualified airlines to participate in the exercise, but to no avail.

He said the commission forwarded the report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Aviation for diplomatic intervention, but that Saudi Arabia did not grant its request.

“ In fact, a delegation was send to appeal to Saudi Arabian Authority to allow the three carriers fly their route, but they insisted that those airlines must acquire designation status because they only applied as charter flights,” he said.

Goni also said  it was a standing rule that all Hajj participating countries must abide by the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority’s condition, in order to participate in the Hajj.