From Mohammad Ibrahim, Makkah
As airlift of pilgrims back to their country commences, a group, under the ages of Independent Hajj Reporters, has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to sanction Kabo Air for its delay in airlifting pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
Also, the civil society commended Max Air, FLYNAS and Medview, for their performance during the outbound airlift of pilgrims.
A statement by its national coordinator Ibrahim Muhammed and publicity secretary Abubakar Mahmoud, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, said the organisation has monitored the airlift in both Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
“Despite the hitches created by the delay in the issuance of visa, which made it difficult to have a consistent flight schedule, FLY NAS, Max Air and Medview lived up to the promises made to Nigerian pilgrims of airlifting pilgrims in time,” the statement said.
It however said “Kabo Air has disappointed Nigerian pilgrims with its poor performance in this year’s Hajj airlift exercise. Kabo failed to position its aircrafts in some states where they are expected to evacuate pilgrims thereby subjected them to unnecessary psychological trauma.”
“Therefore, we are calling on NAHCON to invoke relevant penalties against Kabo Air in view of its poor service delivery during the outbound journey. The inability of Kabo Air to position its aircrafts as at when due, created untold hardship for pilgrims – especially those from Adamawa state,” it said.
“Kabo Air and other Hajj air carriers are fully aware that accurate and reliable flight schedule and efficient operation are critical aspects of Hajj planning as many other elements are dependent on them,” it said.
“Any violation of the airlift schedule would result to increase cost of living of the pilgrims, cost of accommodation in Makkah and Madinah due to over stay, release of pilgrims to Jeddah airport and the need for the avoidance of hardship to the pilgrims as outlined under item 6.8 of 2014 Hajj Airlift Agreement,” the statement said.
Independent Hajj Reporters however urged the air carriers to replicate the same effort during the second leg of the airlift which is set to commence today Thursday 9th of October, God’s willing.
Also, the organisation urged NAHCON to caution states pilgrims’ welfare boards against delay in release of pilgrims to the airport; adding that it should enforce full compliance with the 32kg and 8kg luggage policy by ensuring that pilgrims do not carry multiple hand luggage to the airport.
“To replicate the success recorded in the first leg of 2014 Hajj airlift, all stakeholders must play their roles as expected for efficient and commensurate service delivery to pilgrims,” the statement said.