By Abubakar Abdulkadir
The entry of Max air in Hajj exercise in Nigeria opens a new chapter in hajj exercise in Nigeria especially in the areas of airlift of pilgrims. A factual historical survey on the performance and challenges of pilgrims airlift since 1991 indicates that airlift of pilgrims was major challenge during hajj exercise. Pilgrims hardly knows when they will be airlifted to and from Saudi Arabia. They are not sure whether their luggage will be delivered to them or not. This was before the founding of Max Air in 2008 with the sole of objectives of rendering efficient and timely services to Nigerian Pilgrims.
Before the coming of max air, Nigerian pilgrims do spent months waiting to be conveyed back home. Pilgrims luggages are either abandoned or spend one year before it could be delivered to the pilgrims. Nigeria was synonymous with pleading for extension of time to be able to airlift its pilgrims by then. The entry of Max air closed that chapter to the relived of pilgrims. It open era of adhering to airlift schedules, and timely delivery of pilgrims luggages.
Presently, Max Air has the following aircraft in its fleet: four numbers of Boeing 747-346 with Reg numbers, 5N –DBM, 5N –BMG, 5N-DDK, 5N-HMB and one Embrear legacy. It is a fact that no any other hajj carrier has half of Max air capacity in terms of required resources to successfully airlift pilgrims on schedule. Apart from adhering to its contractual agreement with relevant authorities, Max air has been assisting other carriers in rescue operation whenever they cannot meet up with their schedules. If hajj airlifts where to commence today, Max Air aircrafts are on standby.
Because of its track records, the government of Niger, Burkina Faso and Central African Republic has contract Max air to airlift their pilgrims. It is a feat that I think Nigerians should be proud of. For example, Before, NITEL was the sole source of telephone communication in this country. The deregulation of that sector brought other competitors like MTN, AIRTEL, GLO and ETISALAT. Can MTN or AIRTEL or even NCC restrict the numbers of subscribers GLO should have especially if their infrastructure can support such number of subscribers? The answer is obvious.
Therefore, if Nigerians Muslims desire to have a hitch free hajj exercise without the yester years gnashing o teeth’s, Max Air should be allowed to utilize its maximum capacity to serve Nigerian Muslims. Another bone of contention is the decision of most of the states to choose Max Air as their preferred carrier. It is a fact that state pilgrims’ boards wants the best for their pilgrims. They want an airliner that will position its craft as at when due. They know the physiological trauma pilgrims do went through waiting for an airline.
Previously, airlift of pilgrims was synonymous with Kabo air. During the regime of the late General Sani Abacha, Kabo air was the sole air carrier that airlift over 100, 000 Nigerian pilgrims. Therefore, it is quite amazing that Max air that has the capacity to airlift 80, 000 pilgrims in 10 days is being restricted to 40, 000 despite the fact that states pilgrims boards who owns the pilgrims choose Max air. It is high time politics is detached from hajj exercise. Other carriers should emulate Max Air achievements in competence and build their capacity for a healthy competition. This is the only way I think Nigerian pilgrims will be served better and not the campaign of calumny being waged in the media.
Abubakar Abdulkadir wrote in from Dutsinma, Katsina state