Umza Aviation Services in partnership with Aero Contractors, one of the airlines approved by the Federal Government to transport Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia has begun operations in Abuja.
The airline departed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Friday at 19:32 hours with 288 male and 175 female pilgrims and 13 officials of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
The Nigerian hajj regulatory body had allocated no fewer than 8,033 prospective pilgrims to the Aero Contractors to transport to and back to Nigeria after the end of 2023 hajj ritual.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the flight took off, Alhaji Liman Usman Mohammad, Head of Human Resources, Administration, Hajj and Umrah for the Umza Aviation and Officer Coordinating 2023 Hajj for Aero Contractors, assured hitch-free operation.
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“We bided for hajj and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria allocated 8,033 pilgrims to us. They are the pilgrims of Nasarawa, Oyo, Adamawa and Taraba States.”
“The operation is starting with the Nasarawa pilgrims at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, we have carried 463 passengers comprising Nasarawa pilgrims and officials of the NAHCON.
“The aircraft is going and coming back immediately for the second flight. Continuously, that is how we will do the operation until we finish Nasarawa with six flight operations. Then we will move to Lagos and Oyo state has about 1500 pilgrims. We will give them five flights and join the remaining pilgrims with that of Adamawa.”
He disclosed that Adamawa and Taraba States operation would cover about eight flights which would mark the end of the operation.
“You have seen the machine that we are using; 747 with capacity of 479 and God willing on June 12, we will be able to transport all the pilgrims allocated to us.”
He explained that Aero Contractors and Umza Aviation Services are in partnership for the 2023 hajj operation.
He said Aero would provide the technical aspects of the operation, while Umza will provide the financial aspect.
“We have an understanding between the two of us and we informed NAHCON which they took note of.”
Meanwhile, The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transportation of Nigerian pilgrims by the approved air carriers across the country.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Alhaji Zikrullah Kunle Hassan, stated this during his inspection visit to the Hajj Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe, International Airport, Abuja, on Friday.
“I am very cool and happy with the way and manner we are going. I’m really satisfied. I pray and hope that we continue in the same way and tempo we started up till the end I pray that we end the operation very well.
“I am also particularly very impressed with the quality and standard of the aircraft deployed which has many business class seats. It meant that we can have many business classes on board the aircraft,” Hassan said.