From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Leading Nigeria airline and one of the 217 Hajj designated carriers, Med-View Airline PLC, yesterday completed the return airlift of Nigeria pilgrims who performed the Hajj exercise this year in the Holy Land Mecca.
The last flight of pilgrims from the Eastern zone comprising Enugu, Port Harcourt, among others departed King Abdul-Azeez International Airport and touched down the Enugu airport.
Managing Director/CEO of the airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole told journalists in Lagos that about 15, 000 were returned home from Nigeria.
Med-View airline had commenced the return leg journeys of the prilgrim on September 10,2017 with a promise to compete the airlift in two weeks.
The figure comprises pilgrims from Kaduna (about 5000), Lagos, Kwara as well as international pilgrims, who came through the tour operators.
The last batch of Kaduna pilgrims departed on Wednesday night while the airlift of Lagos zone comprising of Lagos, Oyo and Osun and Edo pilgrims has been concluded.
Outside the shores of Nigeria, the airline also airlifted 1, 400 pilgrims from Djibouti, 500 from Guinea Bissau and another 600 Sudanese pilgrims from Khartoum, the Sudan capital.
The airline which deployed three aircraft for this year’s exercise including B747-400, B777-200 and B767-300 has in the last 11 years of its journey into Hajj operations airlifted over 350,000 pilgrims, who performed the annual Hajj exercise.
Bankole commended the stakeholders including the NAHCON management for their contributions to the success of the Hajj exercise.
According to him, “We airlifted about 15,000 from Nigeria including international passengers from Lagos, Kano and environs including the allocations from the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON). We have now gone international by airlifting pilgrims from Sudan, Guinea Bissau and Djibouti, if you add those ones, we have more than 17,000 pilgrims.”
He continued, “The exercise has been successful by the grace of Allah. The way God has made it easier this year was wonderful. We thank everybody including the entire management of Hajj Commission and all the stakeholders as we hope for better 2018.”